Tragedy in Dakar as eight die in cup final stadium crush

AFRICAN FOOTBALL

Tragedy in Dakar as eight die in cup final stadium crush

Tragedy in Dakar as eight die in cup final stadium crush

SEYLLOU

AFP

Eight people were killed during Senegal's football league cup final in Dakar on Saturday following a stampede following clashes between supporters that were met by police.

Eight people have been confirmed as dead and at least 50 seriously injured in the confusion following the game in the Senegalese capital. 

An AFP journalist at the match described a Demba Diop stadium full to bursting with people for the long-awaited clash between local teams US Ouakam and Stade de Mbour in the Coupe de la Ligue final.

At 2-1 during extra time, US Ouakam supporters began throwing stones at Stade de Mbour fans, causing spectators to begin vacating their seats in a rush, the journalist said.

Part of a wall supporting fans from both sides then collapsed, while police had begun firing tear gas and panic spread in the stadium leading to a crush.

A vandalized goal is seen at Demba Diop stadium July 15, 2017 in Dakar after a football game between local teams Ouakam and Stade de Mbour. E

Wall gives way 

"All of a sudden when the wall fell... we knew exactly that some of our own had lost their lives because the wall fell directly onto people," said Cheikh Maba Diop, a witness who helped evacuate victims from the stadium and lost a friend in the tragedy.

Also speaking at the scene, football fan Mara Die Diouf said policing at the stadium had been inadequate.

"What I find terrible is that we have this kind of final in this kind of stadium here where there isn't enough security," he said.

People stand amid a collapsed wall at Demba Diop stadium July 15, 2017 in Dakar as after a football game between local teams Ouakam and Stade de Mbour. adding many more were injured.

Diouf described police retreating from an area separating the two teams' supporters once projectiles began being thrown, triggering dangerous movements by supporters unable to defend themselves.

AFP journalists at the scene saw belongings covered in blood at the site, with a pair of glasses and clothing strewn among broken pieces of concrete.

Election campaign suspended 

Campaigning for Senegal's legislative elections due on July 30 would on Sunday be suspended in respect for the victims, said a spokesman for President Macky Sall.

Sall also wanted "punishments serving as a warning," following the tragedy, spokesman El Hamidou Kasse said on TFM radio.

Senegal's safety record at large gatherings has been heavily criticised this year after the death of dozens of people at a religious retreat in April when a fire ripped through makeshift shelters.

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