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‘Reckless’ opening of stadium gate caused deadly Cameroon crush: minister

Douala (AFP) – A stampede that led to the deaths of eight people outside an Africa Cup of Nations stadium was caused by a “reckless” decision to open a gate in the face of a “flood of people”, Cameroon’s sports minister said Friday.

“That entry gate was momentarily closed by security forces in the face of a surge of spectators despite other entry gates being in operation,” said Narcisse Mouelle Kombi at a press conference.

“Overwhelmed by this surge of people, the security forces took the reckless decision to open the south gate, leading to a crush,” which caused the tragedy on Monday at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde.

The minister also acknowledged that the number of security staff was “insufficient” at the match at Olembe Stadium in Yaounde for the match between the home nation and Comoros.

He also blamed the number of people trying to get in with fake or used tickets or even without tickets for the crush.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, which also left 38 people injured, Patrice Motsepe, the president of the Confederation of African Football (CAN), announced that Sunday’s quarter-final due to be played at the Olembe Stadium will be switched to the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium, also in Yaounde. 

He also announced that CAF would not allow other matches to be played there if the Cameroonian authorities did not submit an investigation report by Friday. 

“That gate was supposed to be open because if it was open they would have walked through, and for inexplicable reasons it was closed,” Mostsepe said on Tuesday.

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