Cameroon and the Confederation of African Football have ordered an investigation into Monday night’s deadly stampede at a stadium in the Cameroonian capital, Yaoundé.
Fans attempting to enter Olembe Stadium to watch an African Cup of Nations (AFCON) match between Cameroon and Comoros have overpowered hundreds of police officers and left at least 8 dead and 38 wounded.
“CAF has learned of the incidents that occurred at the Olembe stadium this evening, January 24, 2022, during the African Cup of Nations match between Cameroon, host country, and Comoros. CAF is currently investigating the situation in order to obtain more details on these incidents.“, indicates the African authority in a press release published on its official website.
“The President of CAF, Patrice Motsepe, dispatched the Secretary General, Veron Mosengo-Omba, to the bedside of the victims admitted to hospitals in Yaoundé”, the statement added.
Cameroonian authorities say six people died at the stadium while two others died on the way to hospital.
A government spokesman said in a statement that seven of the 38 injured football fans were in critical condition at Yaoundé Central Hospital.
Cameroon’s public health minister visited the injured in hospitals and said President Paul Biya ordered the victims to be treated free of charge.
Cameroon national football team player Fai Collins, who was playing Monday night’s game, said the players were saddened by the death.
“I hope that the authorities will take the various measures that they must take [pour que] next time it won’t happen again”, did he declare.
“Our condolences to the families who lost [leurs membres]. It’s really sad, it’s really, really sad” , he added.
President Biya and the Confederation of African Football have ordered separate investigations to determine the cause of the stampede.
The stadium was allowed to hold a maximum of 40,000 people, but authorities say there were around 57,000 at Monday’s game.
Cameroon authorities last week said spectator turnout was low due to the pandemic and regulations requiring proof of vaccination and a negative test result.
To help fill stadiums, Cameroon has launched a campaign for fans to be tested and vaccinated, with several thousand people getting the shot to watch AFCON, Africa’s biggest football tournament.
But Cameroon’s sports and physical education ministry said thousands more who had refused the vaccine had jumped fences and forced their way into stadiums.
Cameroon is hosting the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament despite the ongoing pandemic and threats from separatists to disrupt matches. The championship started on January 9 and will end on February 6.