Eight people were killed and dozens more injured in a crush outside a Cameroonian football stadium ahead of an Africa Cup of Nations match, officials said on Tuesday.
Cameroonian President Paul Biya ordered an investigation into the tragedy that occurred Monday as crowds attempted to enter the Olembe Stadium in the capital Yaounde to watch the host nation play the Comoros.
Although crowds at the 60,000-seat stadium had been limited to 60 percent of capacity for the tournament because of the coronavirus pandemic, the cap is raised to 80 percent when Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions play.
“Eight deaths were recorded, two women in their 30s, four men in their 30s, one child, one body taken away by the family,” a statement from the health ministry revealed.
The ministry said victims were “immediately transported” in ambulances, but “heavy road traffic slowed down the transport”.
Communications Minister Rene Emmanuel Sadi said 38 people were injured, including seven seriously, according to a statement.
The health ministry reported earlier that around 50 were hurt, including two people with multiple injuries and two more with serious head wounds.
On the pitch on Monday, Cameroon sealed their place in the last eight of the tournament with a 2-1 win and will now play Gambia in the quarter-finals.
That match is due to be played on Saturday in Cameroon’s economic capital Douala, although there had been speculation that remaining matches scheduled to be played there could be moved to Yaounde due to concerns about the state of the pitch.