No fewer than two persons have been feared dead in a stampede that occurred in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The incident occurred on Tuesday morning at the Rumudara/Tank of the East/West road in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area as customers of an online marketing firm, Inksnation besieged the company for the food items.
Twenty people, many of them women and children, were trampled to death on Monday in a stampede for food and money for refugees in southeast Niger, sources said.
“We have a provisional toll of 20 dead,” a medical source said. Aid workers confirmed the account and said about 10 people had been injured.
The accident occurred at a youth and culture centre in Diffa, the main town of a region of that name that abuts Nigeria and Chad.
The region has been repeatedly hit by attacks by Nigeria’s Boko Haram jihadist group since 2015.
It hosts 119,000 Nigerian refugees, 109,000 internally-displaced people, and 30,000 Nigeriens who have returned to Nigeria because of instability there, according to UN figures released October.
The aid being distributed had been given by Babagana Umara Zulum, the governor of Borno state in northeast Nigeria, a Nigerian official told AFP.
He had come to the region to visit camps for refugees and the displaced, and had already left the town when the stampede occurred.
“They were distributing food and money — 5,000 naira ($13.75, 12.7 euros) per person,” a local resident told AFP, referring to Nigeria’s national currency.
“Thousands of people, most of them refugees, heard about the handout and left the camps, sometimes travelling up to 100 kilometres (60 miles) to get to Diffa,” the source said.
A local official said he was astonished at the situation. “Normally, people who are entitled to the handouts send a representative to Diffa to pick it up. But this time, the refugees themselves decided to come and get it, travelling dozens of kilometres (miles).”
Another resident said: “Even ordinary inhabitants of Diffa rushed there in the hope of getting the handout.”
A large amount of food, cooking oil and clothing, as well as the money, was due to be distributed, a Diffa municipal worker told AFP.
“Thousands of people were in the courtyard of the MJC (Culture and Youth Centre) and nearby,” he said.
“As soon as the first people received their rations, the compressed crowd started to get excited, the organisers were swiftly overwhelmed and then it all kicked off — women, children and the fit ones started to push,” the employee said.
“The weakest people fell to the ground. Some were injured and others were crushed to death.”
A local journalist said the emergency services arrived swiftly, taking wounded people to local treatment centres, while bodies were taken to the morgue of the nearby Diffa hospital.
Zulum visited three sites housing more than 100,000 Nigerian refugees — camps at Bosso, Garin-Wazan and Toummour.
In addition to a crisis sparked by jihadist violence, Diffa is also battling floods caused by the Yobe River, which delineates part of Niger’s border with Nigeria.
The floods have left more than 20,000 people without shelter, according to the local authorities.
They have also devastated rice and pepper fields, whose harvests provide the backbone of the local economy.
A stampede broke out Tuesday at the funeral of a top Iranian general killed in a US drone strike, leaving more than 30 people dead as huge crowds of mourners packed his hometown.
The crush in the southeastern city of Kerman came as Iran prepared to bury Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani, a hugely popular figure in the Islamic republic.
“Unfortunately because of overcrowding 32 of our citizens lost their lives in the procession… and 190 were injured,” the head of the country’s emergency services, Pirhossein Koolivand, told state television.
The injured were immediately transferred to hospital, he added.
AFP correspondents in Kerman said the streets were packed with mourners, while others took refuge on hillsides around the city.
Soleimani, the head of the Guards’ Quds Force foreign operations arm, was assassinated on Friday in a US strike near Baghdad international airport, an operation that shocked Iran.
“The enemy killed him unjustly,” the Revolutionary Guards’ top commander, Major General Hossein Salami said, adding the process of “expelling the United States from the region has begun”.
“Our will is firm. We also tell our enemies that we will take revenge, and that if they (strike again) we will set fire to what they love,” he told the sea of black-clad mourners.
“They themselves know well what places I am talking about.”
Schoolgirls joined chants of “Death to Trump” from the crowd, an AFP correspondent reported.
Tuesday’s funeral comes after days of processions through the southwestern city of Ahvaz and the shrine cities of Qom and Mashhad as well as the capital Tehran.
The assassination of Soleimani set off an escalating war of words between Iran and the United States.
In Tehran, President Hassan Rouhani on Monday warned Trump to “never threaten” Iran, after the US leader issued a US strike list of 52 targets in the Islamic republic.
On Tuesday, Iranian lawmakers voted to designate all US forces around the world “terrorists” over Soleimani’s killing.
Parliament also agreed to bolster the coffers of the Quds Force, which Soleimani led, by $244 million (200 million euros).
‘Boils the blood’
In Kerman, people converged from afar on Azadi Square where two flag-draped coffins were on display, with the second one reportedly containing the remains of Soleimani’s closest aide, Brigadier General Hossein Pourjafari.
“We’re here today to pay respects to the great commander of the holy defence,” said one of the mourners who came from the southern city of Shiraz to attend the funeral in Kerman.
“Haj Qasem was not only loved in Kerman, or Iran, but also the whole world,” Hemmat Dehghan told AFP.
“The security of the whole world, Muslims, Shiites, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and especially Iran, all owe it to him,” said the 56-year-old war veteran.
Another mourner said Soleimani’s assassination “boils the blood of the Iranian people”.
“He was seen as a great man who was ready to serve his people both then in the war and now. He must certainly be avenged,” said Sara Khaksar, an 18-year-old student.
Friday’s assassination of the 62-year-old Soleimani heightened international concern about a new war in the volatile Middle East.
Iraq’s parliament has demanded the government expel the 5,200 American troops stationed in the country in response to the drone attack which also killed top Iraqi military figure Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
Baghdad requested in a letter to the UN — seen by AFP — that the Security Council condemn the US strike so that “the law of the jungle” is not allowed to prevail.
The operation represented “a dangerous escalation that could lead to a devastating war in Iraq, the region and the world,” wrote Iraq’s UN ambassador Mohammed Hussein Bahr-Aluloom.
Markets on edge
On Sunday night, the US mistakenly notified the Iraq of an imminent troop pullout in a letter that sparked confusion in Washington.
“We respect your sovereign decision to order our departure,” said the letter, whose authenticity was confirmed to AFP by both Iraqi and US defence officials.
In the letter, US Brigadier General William Seely said the US-led coalition would “be repositioning forces”.
But Pentagon Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley said the letter was a mere “draft” that was sent by mistake.
Germany said Tuesday it was withdrawing some of its troops deployed as the anti-IS coalition in Iraq.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned on Monday that Iran must avoid “further violence and provocations”.
The European Union, whose foreign ministers will hold emergency talks on the crisis Friday, said it was in both Iran and Iraq’s interests to “take the path of sobriety and not the path of escalation”.
Saudi Arabia — an oil-rich US ally seen as vulnerable to Iranian counter strikes — also appealed for calm after a “very dangerous” escalation.
World financial markets have been on edge over the crisis.
“The new year has started with a bang in so far as volatility is concerned,” said Fawad Razaqzada at Forex.com.
“This is mainly due to the escalation of tensions between the US and Iran after Trump ordered the assassination of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani.”
Soleimani is expected to be buried at the martyrs’ cemetery in Kerman between 2:00 and 4:00 pm (1030 and 1230 GMT).
An Algerian court has handed three people prison sentences for “negligence” over a deadly stampede at an August concert, a judicial source told AFP Thursday.
Five people aged between 13 and 22 were killed and more than 80 injured on August 22 when fans thronged an entrance of a stadium in Algiers where France-based rapper Soolking was performing.
Samy Benchikh, the former head of Algeria’s public body for organising concerts, was sentenced to six months in prison, with three months suspended, a judicial source said on condition of anonymity.
The manager of a ticket company was handed six months in jail with four months suspended, and the same sentence was handed to the head of the company handling security at the event.
All three were charged with “negligence” after the court dropped manslaughter charges, the judicial source added.
Eleven security guards also on trial were released.
The incident forced culture minister Meriem Merdaci to resign and led to the sacking of Benchikh and Algeria’s police chief, Abdelkader Kara Bouhadba.
Soolking, 29, is a major star in Algeria, and his song “La Liberte” (Freedom) became a mainstay of the anti-government protest movement that has swept Algeria since February.
The choice of the August-20 stadium, one of the country’s oldest, to host the rapper’s sole planned concert in Algeria since his international career took off in 2018, was heavily criticised, in particular by families of the victims.
The day of the concert, large numbers of spectators were still waiting to enter shortly before the show began, and fears of not being able to enter reportedly sparked the stampede.
Algeria’s Culture Minister Meriem Merdaci resigned Saturday, following the deaths of five young music fans in a stampede at a packed concert by rapper Soolking in the capital, the president’s office announced.
It said Merdaci handed her resignation to interim president Abdelkader Bensalah “who accepted it”.
On Friday, prime minister Noureddine Bedoui fired the head of ONDA (the National Office of Copyright and Neighbouring Rights), the public authority in charge of organising concerts. An investigation has been opened.
Two children and three adults were killed in a stampede at a weekend football match in the Angolan capital Luanda, sparking an investigation, authorities said Monday.
The crush occurred Saturday as fans were leaving the CAF Champions League quarter-final match between Primeiro Agosto of Angola and TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the sports ministry said.
The incident “caused the death by asphyxiation of five supporters and caused seven injuries at the end of the match,” the ministry said in a statement.
The two children were aged 10 and 12, it said.
One survivor who gave his name only as Nemo, speaking to TV channel Zimbo from his hospital bed, said: “The exit door was very small, many people fell.”
The history of African football is marked by frequent deadly crowd stampedes. In Angola in February 2017, 17 people were killed and 58 injured near the northern town of Uige ahead of a season-opening match for the national championship.
Earlier this month, at least one person was killed and 37 injured in a stampede ahead of an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo.
And in July last year, eight people were killed when rival supporters clashed during Senegal’s League Cup final, and a stampede caused a wall to fall on escaping fans.
The scramble came after police used tear gas to clear the area surrounding the stadium.
In 2009, 19 people died in the Ivorian economic capital Abidjan after a crush in a qualifying match for the 2010 World Cup between Ivory Coast and Malawi.
Indian police Wednesday used batons to drive back tens of thousands of mourners thronging the funeral of a revered regional politician, triggering a stampede that reportedly left two devotees dead.
Grieving supporters of Muthuvel Karunanidhi poured into the southeastern city of Chennai to pay last respects to the man who died Tuesday aged 94.
A sea of mourners swelled in the streets as the coffin was taken to its resting place in the Tamil Nadu state capital.
But there was a stampede as police pushed back against mourners as they strove for a final glimpse of Karunanidhi.
Two people were killed and others injured in the melee, Indian news outlets reported. Police officials contacted by AFP were unable to confirm the reports.
Tension had been building in the city after the state government Tuesday denied permission for the politician to be buried at the popular Marina beach.
Karunanidhi’s party, the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), approached the state’s highest court. It ruled that the five-time state chief minister should be buried next to his mentor C.N Annadurai at the seaside memorial.
Karunanidhi, a charismatic self-styled champion of the poor, reshaped regional politics through his opposition to high-caste hegemony and was idolised by legions of his supporters.
He earned the loyalty of many rural voters with a series of populist schemes and fiery speeches in support of the so-called backward castes.
A school dropout, Karunanidhi became involved in politics at a young age, spearheading the DMK party through 12 state elections, all of which he contested and won.
Affectionately called “Kalaignar” or scholar, he wrote reams of poems, lyrics and books and was a prolific screenwriter for the Tamil film industry.
Mourning relatives on Monday started burying the victims of a stampede that killed 15 women during a food aid delivery near the popular tourist town of Essaouira on Morocco’s coast.
“It’s a tragedy,” said the husband of one of the victims, breaking down in tears after burying her.
Hundreds of women had gathered on Sunday at a marketplace in the village of Sidi Boulaalam, around 60 kilometres (35 miles) northeast of Essaouira, for an annual distribution of food aid organised by a benefactor from the region.
A witness told AFP that people had pushed and broken down barriers as they fought for food.
“If you fall, it’s over for you and you get trampled on,” one survivor said, speaking from a hospital bed.
“Nobody came to our aid, everyone was shouting for help,” she added.
Authorities have launched a probe into the tragedy, which also left 10 women injured.
At the morgue of Essaouira’s hospital, the scent of incense barely covered the stench of corpses wrapped in blankets.
Mohamed, a forensic doctor from Essaouira who preferred not to give his last name, said the bodies were “in a sorry state”.
“They had severe fractures, huge bruises on the body,” he said.
The families of the dead come to identify their relatives as ambulances waited to take the bodies away for burial.
“I hardly recognised my mother,” said Mjid, a son of one of the victims.
Habiba, a woman bundled up in a pink djellaba robe, a veil over her hair, said she had lost her big sister in the crush.
“She came to get oil and flour, but there were too many people. She fell and was trampled on,” the 57-year-old said.
The press and social media users have blamed Morocco’s glaring social and regional inequalities for the accident, calling it a “two-speed country”.
News website Medias 24 blamed poverty for the crush, calling it an “unprecedented tragedy”.
“People here are needy, there is no agriculture, no work,” Mjid said.
He moved from Sidi Boulaalam to commercial capital Casablanca as a young man, leaving behind a village of 8,000 people eking out a meagre living from their livestock, far from the developed infrastructure of Morocco’s main cities.
Provincial officials said arrangements had been made for the aid delivery, but “the crowd exceeded estimates”.
Khalid Azourar, a member of a local NGO, blamed the accident on a lack of organisation.
“Poverty is in people’s minds,” he said. “People do not know how to respect a queue”.
An official report in early October slammed severe poverty in rural areas of Morocco.
Medias 24 said Sidi Boulaalam was “one of the poorest” villages in the country.
At least eight people were killed on Saturday in a stampede in a soccer stadium in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, during a match between two local teams, the sports minister said.
A fight broke out between fans of rivals US Ouakam and Stade de Mbour at the Demba Diop stadium and police fired tear gas to break it up. The resulting confusion triggered the stampede, Sports Minister Matar Ba told Reuters by telephone.
Deadly stampedes at soccer matches have been common in Africa, where safety standards are low. At least 17 people died and scores were injured in a stampede in a match in Angola in February when hundreds of supporters stormed the stadium.