At least six people have died as fans tried to enter a stadium hosting an African Cup of Nations game in Cameroon on Monday, a government official has confirmed.
Naseri Paul Biya, governor of the central region of Cameroon, said there could be more casualties. Officials at a nearby hospital said they had received at least 40 injured people from the crush.
â€œSome of the injured are in desperate condition,â€ said Olinga Prudence, a nurse at the Messassi hospital. â€œWe will have to evacuate them to a specialised hospital.â€
The incident happened as crowds struggled to get access to Olembe Stadium in the Cameroon capital of YaoundÃ© to watch the host country play Comoros in a last 16 knockout game in Africaâ€™s top football tournament. It is not immediately clear if the incident happened before kick-off or during the game.
A statement from the tournament organisers, Confederation of African Football (CAF), said that it â€œis aware of the incident that took place at Olembe Stadium during the fixture between hosts Cameroon and Comoros [on] 24 January 2022.â€
â€œCAF is currently investigating the situation and trying to get more details on what transpired,â€ the statement added. â€œWe are in constant communication with Cameroon government and the local organising committee.
â€œTonight, the CAF president, Dr Patrice Motsepe, sent the General Secretary, Veron Mosengo-Omba, to visit the supporters in hospital in YaoundÃ©.â€
Officials had earlier said around 50,000 people had tried to attend the match. The stadium has a capacity of 60,000 but it was not meant to be more than 80% full for the game due to restrictions on the size of the crowd because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Cameroon won the game 2-1 to reach the quarter-finals.