19 trampled to death in Abidjan stadium – 'because of corruption'
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Nineteen people were killed in a stampede outside a stadium in the capital of the Ivory Coast on Sunday. One of our Observers in the country, who was at the scene with his camera, told us that corrupt police forces and stadium staff are at fault for the catastrophe. Read more...
Nineteen people were killed in a stampede outside a stadium in the capital of the Ivory Coast on Sunday. One of our Observers in the country, who was at the scene with his camera, told us that corrupt police forces and stadium staff are at fault for the catastrophe.
UPDATE (3.04.09) : The figure originally given out by news agencies has been amended. Nineteen people died, not 22.
Christian is an Ivorian film-maker who works in New Delhi. He was on a return visit to Abidjan.
I went to the game between Malawi and the Ivory Coast with friends. The stadium's got a capacity of 35,000, but I'd say there was almost double that number inside. This happened because of corruption. Let me explain. The police and stadium staff stop you at the entrance, only letting those through who hand over a bribe. Even if you have a ticket it's impossible to go through. You need to give between 100 and 300 CFA [West African] francs [15 - 45 euro centimes] to get in.
Tickets for the match were supposed to be pre-booked only so that the audience number would be capped. But people came anyway because they knew they'd be able to offer a bribe at the entrance. The fact that there was only one barrier 200km from the stadium supposedly keeping non-ticket holders out, is proof enough. Nobody was turned away.
Those who did have tickets were really annoyed. They saw people getting in easily and started pushing against the stadium railings, which subsequently collapsed. People were getting trampled on but the situation was still under control. It was after when the police let of smoke bombs [1:05 into the video] that it deteriorated. I was just next to them when they let them off. I ran away so that I could carry on filming. A policeman tried to take my camera but I refused.
What shocked me was that when I watched the news that evening, the national TV barely mentioned the incident. Here, everyone's talking about the responsibility of the police and the Ivorian Federation for Football. We're waiting for the results from the investigation."
Warning, you may find these images upsetting