Cameroon authorities have blamed a deadly stadium crush at the tournament on a ‘massive’ influx of ticketless fans who arrived late to a game involving the host team and tried to force their way in to avoid security checks and screening.
In response, the government ordered 250 extra police officers for Cameroon’s next game, a quarter-final against Gambia on Saturday at a different stadium.
The stampede at Monday’s Cameroon-Comoros last 16 match at the African Cup’s main Olembe Stadium in the capital of Yaounde left eight people dead and another 38 injured, seven of them seriously.
Eight people died and 38 suffered injuries in a stampede outside the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations last-16 tie between Cameroon and Comoros
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It was one of the worst stadium disasters in the history of Africa’s biggest soccer tournament.
Cameroon Sports Minister Narcisse Mouelle kombi Servisi said at a news conference on Friday that the full results of a government investigation were not yet available, but he did reveal some new information.
Close to 60,000 fans tried to get into the game at the Olembe, Kombi said, when the crowd was meant to be capped at a maximum of 48,000 people because of COVID-19 restrictions.
African Cup organisers have made it compulsory for fans to present negative virus tests and proof they are vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend games.
But many fans didn’t have tickets or kombi Servisi meet the COVID-19 screening criteria and so forced their way in, Kombi said.Local TV stations have broadcast footage of fans climbing over security fences at the time of the crush.
People assist victims of the stampede which authorities say was caused by ticketless fans
‘I will not be able to give you the results of investigations ordered by Cameroon President Paul Biya but the massive and late influx of supporters and spectators at Yaounde’s Olembe stadium caused the crush,’ Kombi said.
Also, the fans had arrived late because they had been watching an earlier match on TV, Kombi said.
Authorities haven’t yet explained why security officials directed fans toward a gate that was locked, as witnesses have claimed and which contributed to the crush.Or why security was so inadequate and so easily overwhelmed.
kombi Servisi is also the president of Cameroon’s local organising committee for the tournament.
He said the increased security for Cameroon’s game against Gambia in the commercial capital Douala on Saturday was ‘to stop the uncivil behaviour of Cameroonians who want to force themselves into the stadium when they do not have entry tickets and negative COVID-19 test results.’
The capacity at the Olembe Stadium was supposed to be capped at 48,000 but 60,000 people attempted to get inside, causing the deadly stampede
Kombi said organisers would no longer allow children under the age of 11 to attend games after a number of children were caught up in the crush at the Olembe.
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