61 people killed in stampede in Ivory Coast

Tuesday 01 January 2013 21.52
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About 61 people are thought to have died in the crush
About 61 people are thought to have died in the crush
An official said 49 people were hospitalised
An official said 49 people were hospitalised
The incident happened near Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium
The incident happened near Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium

At least 61 people were crushed to death in Ivory Coast's main city of Abidjan overnight after a New Year's Eve fireworks display.

The incident took place near Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium, where a crowd had gathered to watch fireworks, emergency officials said.

The majority of those killed were young people between eight and 15 years old.

One of the injured said security forces had arrived to break up the crowd, triggering a panic in which many people fell over and were trampled.

"The provisional death toll is 60 and there are 49 injured," Interior Minister Hamed Bakayoko said in a statement broadcast on national television.

President Alassane Ouattara, visiting injured people in hospital, called the incident a national tragedy and said an investigation was under way to determine what happened.

A Reuters correspondent said blood stains and abandoned shoes littered the scene outside the stadium this morning.

In a similar incident in Abidjan in 2010, 18 people were killed in a stampede at a stadium during a football match.