Mozambique: 10 Die in Stadium Crush At End of Nyusi Rally

Junho Stadium in Nampula city.

Maputo — Nampula (Mozambique), 12 Sep (AIM) - An election rally in the northern city of Nampula, addressed by the candidate of the ruling Frelimo Party, President Filipe Nyusi, ended in tragedy on Wednesday when 10 people died in a crush at the exit from the city's 25 June sports stadium.

According to the Frelimo provincial first secretary in Nampula, Agostinho Trinta, a further 85 people suffered injuries. By late evening, Nampula Central Hospital had discharged 74 of them, but 11 remained under medical care.

Trinta described the dead as "Frelimo militants". Six of those who lost their lives were women and four were men. Trinta said a commission has been set up to accompany the families of the victims, including the injured, and to provide all necessary support and solidarity. The police are looking into the causes of the crush.

This is the second fatal crush at a stadium this year. It seems that no crowd control lessons were learnt from the earlier tragedy, which occurred on International Children's Day, 1 June, at the Aqua Park sports centre in Maputo. Five people died, and a police spokesperson blamed overcrowding.

The Nampula stadium can hold 20,000 people, and it is not yet clear whether this capacity was exceeded.

Nampula Central Hospital barred journalists from the premises, according to a report by the independent television station STV. All attempts by reporters on Wednesday night to extract information from the hospital proved fruitless.

According to the newsheet "Carta de Mocambique", two cameramen who attempted to do their job were threatened. A camera belonging to the station TV-Sucesso was damaged, and the reporter was, quite illegally, forced to erase the images he had captured.

A reporter from the islamic station Haq TV was also threatened, but other members of Frelimo had the sense to prevent their colleagues from assaulting him.

"Carta de Mocambique" says that one of the people behind the intimidation against journalists was a local lawyer named Chomar, who is now a Frelimo parliamentary candidate.

By Thursday morning, the hospital was somewhat more forthcoming, and the head of its emergency section, Marcelo Bandjene, told STV that the 11 victims of the crush still hospitalised were in a stable condition.

"Last night we were unable to talk with three of them", he said, "but this morning they were all able to speak". He thought that the 11 would probably all be discharged later on Thursday.

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