Madagascar’s independence day celebration turned deadly when a stampede in the stadium in the nation’s capital killed at least 16 people and no less than 80 people got injured Wednesday.
All the dead bodies were stored in the mortuary of HJRA hospital in the city. Hospital director Olivia Alison Rakoto had earlier reported 15 dead and 80 wounded.
The accident occurred in the afternoon outside the Mahamasina stadium, where several thousand people had gathered for a concert following the traditional military parade held to mark the national holiday, according to local witnesses.
General Richard Ravalomanana, in charge of the National Gendarmerie said the show was about to start and people heard that they could enter the stadium but the police had left the doors closed. People tried to force the doors but they remain closed. The crowd kept pushing. People fell and at least 16 people have died.
The death toll is likely to increase because several of the wounded are said to be in critical condition.
The president of Madagascar Andry Rajoelina, along with his visiting Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame, offered their condolences to the families of victims during a press conference. Rajoelina later visited victims in hospital and told reporters that the state would cover the medical costs of those injured.
The Mahamasina stadium has already witnessed a similar kind of incident last year. On September 9, 2018, during a football match between Madagascar and Senegal, a stampede occurred in which 1 person was killed and 47 were injured.