At least eight people died and 38 others injured following a stampede at a stadium hosting ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon on Monday night, the country's Minister of Communication Rene Emmanuel Sadi said on Tuesday.
Seven people were seriously injured among the 38. The government was taking care of them in various hospitals in the capital Yaounde where the mishap occurred, said Sadi.
"While welcoming the enthusiasm shown by the Cameroonian population since the beginning of AFCON on our soil, the government once again appeals to the sense of responsibility, discipline and good citizenship of all for the total success of this major sporting event, while at the same time giving the assurance that all the necessary arrangements will continue to be made for this purpose," he said.
The tragedy occurred as football fans tried to make their way into the stadium where a crucial knockout game between Cameroon and Comoros was being played.
Cameroon won the match 2-1 and progressed to the quarter-finals of the championship. However, the casualties from the stampede left a bitter taste in the aftermath of the victory for the hosts.
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Emmanuel Njomo, who witnessed the incident, told Xinhua that over 1,000 people tried to push their way through the stadium entrance at the same time.
"Everyone was impatient and wanted to get into the stadium to watch the match which had already started. They pushed the security barriers and that's where troubled started," Njomo said, adding that some children and women either died or were injured during the stampede.
The stadium has 60,000 seats but could only operate at 80 percent of capacity due to COVID-19.