A stampede left nine spectators and two police officers dead during a packed concert by African music star Fally Ipupa at the biggest stadium in DR Congo’s capital, the interior minister said Sunday, blaming the organisers.
Too many people had been allowed into Kinshasa’s 80,000 capacity Martyrs’ stadium on Saturday night, Interior Minister Daniel Aselo Okito told the Actualite.cd news website.
“Eleven people dead… including two police,” the minister told reporters at the stadium, sending condolences to relatives of the casualties.
He deplored the frequent “loss of human life and damage to equipment” during events held at the stadium.
The organisers “went beyond 100 percent capacity… they must be punished”, the minister said.
“It was a stampede,” that caused the deaths, a policeman on the scene told the official Congolese Press Agency ACP.
“The music-lovers suffocated.”
Kinshasa police chief General Sylvain Sasongo had earlier told ACP nine people had died, amid reports the venue had been absolutely jammed with people for the local favourite’s performance, with one witness saying “even the corridors” of the stadium were overflowing.
ACP, which had reporters in the stadium covering the concert, said police had cordoned off three areas to secure the pitch, the VIP stand and the stage.
“Under the pressure of the crowd, the police could not hold out long,” ACP said.
Singer-songwriter Fally Ipupa, “like all Congolese singers”, had arrived several hours after the show had been scheduled to start, the agency noted.
The Kinshasa-born 44-year-old is one of Africa’s leading musicians whose albums sell world-wide.