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Cameroon government wants to ‘improve’ access to stampede stadium

Yaoundé (AFP) – The Cameroonian government wants to “improve” access to the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde after the deadly stampede that killed eight people at the Africa Cup of Nations on Monday, its spokesman told state media on Thursday.

A child and two women were among the victims, who were trampled by the crowd at the south gate of the stadium as they attempted to enter the stadium where hosts Cameroon were playing Comoros. Another 38 were injured.

“We are going to try to see if it is not possible to use other routes which would serve Olembe so that everyone does not use the same route,” Rene Emmanuel Sadi, the government’s Minister of Communication, told CRTV and state-owned newspaper Cameroon Tribune.

“The prime minister has asked us to think about it and the general delegation for national security (police) will work to do so, so that access to the stadium is improved.”

Sadi said the traffic around the Olembe Stadium was “hellish” and that the government wanted to “improve” the system that was already in place.

African football supremo Patrice Motsepe on Tuesday said it was “inexplicable” that an entry gate had remained closed, contributing to the crush.

“If that gate was open as it was supposed to be, we wouldn’t have had this problem we have now, this loss of life. Who closed that gate? Who is responsible for that gate?” the Confederation of African Football (CAF) president said at a press conference.

The quarter-final that was due to be played at the Olembe Stadium was switched to the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium, also in Yaounde.

“The next match that was scheduled for the Olembe Stadium will not take place until CAF and the Local Organising Committee have received the full report of the Investigation Committee (into the Olembe incident) indicating the circumstances and events that led to the injury and death of spectators at the Olembe Stadium,” CAF said in a statement on Wednesday.

Motsepe has demanded that the first conclusions of the investigation should be submitted to CAF by Friday at the latest.

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