Antananarivo, June 27 (IANS) At least 16 people have been killed and 82 injured in a stampede at an event to commemorate the 59th anniversary of Madagascars independence, authorities said on Thursday.
The incident took place late Wednesday as thousands of people left the municipal stadium of Mahamasina in the capital Antananarivo after attending a military parade in which Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina participated with Rwanda President Paul Kagame as a guest of honour.
Both Rajoelina and Prime Minister Christian Ntsay were later seen commiserating with mourners at the entrance to the Joseph Ravoahangy Andrianavalona Hospital, where relatives continued to arrive through the night to identify the victims, Efe news reported.
A crowd had gathered outside the entrance to the hospital and later a smaller number of people was seen huddling outside the morgue.
Richard Ravalomanana, Chief of Madagascar’s National Police, said the incident happened when the crowd accidentally misheard that the gates at the stadium where the celebrations took place had been opened.
“People tried to force the doors but they remained closed, the crowd kept pushing,” he told reporters.
Of the 82 people who suffered injuries, most were in the intensive care unit, according to emergency department sources quoted by the local newspaper L’Express of Madagascar.