16 dead, several hurt during independence day rally in Madagascar

Agence France-Presse . Antananarivo | Published: 12:52, Jun 27,2019


At least 16 people were stampeded to death and dozens were injured at a stadium hosting national independence day celebrations in the capital Antananarivo in Madagascar on Wednesday.
The bodies of sixteen victims, including three children, were stored at the mortuary of HJRA hospital in the city, AFP journalists said.
According to witnesses at the hospital, the accident occurred in the afternoon outside the Mahamasina stadium, where several thousand people had gathered for a concert following the traditional military parade held marking the national holiday.
At the end of a military parade, security forces opened the gates to allow spectators to leave the enclosure, causing the crowd to mass outside the stadium, witnesses said.
The police then immediately closed the gates and blocked the crowd, witnesses said, causing a deadly pile up.
‘When the organisers opened the gate, we were in the front row, in the queue,’ said Jean Claude Etienne Rakotoarimanana, 29, who suffered bruises from the crush.
‘Suddenly people ran to get in front of us. They shoved us, some even punched us and pulled us,’ he added, saying he then fainted.
Madagascan president Andry Rajoelina, at a press conference with Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame, offered his condolences over the tragic deaths.
‘There were too many people unable to enter the stadium which led to the problem,’ he said, adding that the state would take care of the hospital bills of the injured.
Rajoelina visited the hospital taking care of those injured in the stadium crush.

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