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Senegal: 8 People Killed in Stadium Disaster

July 17, 2017

Eight people have been killed, and more than 60 injured, following a horrific disaster at the Demba Diop Stadium in Dakar on Saturday.

Rival supporters started throwing stones and other objects at each other as the Senegal Football League Cup final heated up between local teams, US Ouakam and Stade de Mbour. This eventually lead to a stampede breaking out within the stadium, resulting in the collapse of one of the stadium walls.

According to witnesses, the stadium was full the brim. The match went into overtime, with Stade de Mbour scoring a goal after the match was a 1-1 draw at 90 minutes.

At this point, US Ouakam supporters started to throw stones at Stade de Mbour supporters, which lead to a group fight.

Police in the stadium fired teargas at the supporters, which resulted in dozens of spectators rushing to vacate the stadium. The ensuing stampede caused a part of a wall to collapse, crushing people below it.

“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 [sic],” a witness, Cheikh Maba Diop, said.

Senegalese Sports Minister, Matar Ba, confirmed that eight people had been killed, and at least 60 others taken to hospital. He also confirmed that one of those killed was an 8-year-old girl.

Ba promised to “[take] strong measures so that such an event will never be repeated in Senegal [sic]”.

Legislative elections are due to take place on 30 July. Many believe that the political tension in the country at the moment may have been a contributing factor to the brawl on Saturday.

A spokesperson for Senegal’s Prime Minister, Mohammed Dionne, said that all sporting and cultural activities have been suspended until the election process is complete.

Senegalese President, Macky Sall, strongly condemned the incident and said that his sympathy is with the families of the victims.

Image credit: Senegal stadium disaster (2017) [online image] sourced on 17 July 2017 at http://edition.cnn.com/2017/07/15/football/senegal-football-fan-deaths/index.html