Cote d’Ivoire: Dozens Killed at Ivorian New Year Eve Celebrations

Some 60 people were killed and 200 others injured at a stampede in Abidjan.

At least 60 people were crushed to death early yesterday morning during 2013 New Year eve festivities in Côte d’Ivoire’s commercial capital, Abidjan, the BBC reported. The incident occurred in the early hours of Tuesday, January 1 in the central Plateau area of the city.

About 200 people were also reported to have been injured with many of the victims said to be children. The stampede occurred at about 1 a.m. near a stadium in the Plateau neighbourhood. The cause of the stampede was not clear and it is feared that the death toll could rise. The incident happened near the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in the centre of Abidjan. The victims were crushed to death after a New Year eve fireworks display, an emergency official and State radio said yesterday. The victims were aged eight to 15, the State news agency, AIP, said. They were mostly from Abidjan, the country’s largest city and former capital. Relatives rushed to the scene to get news of missing loved ones.

The distraught mother of a nine-year-old boy told local media that she had seen many bodies, but could not find her son, the CNN reported. Another woman, Assetou Toure, a cleaner, said her two children came to the fireworks display against her advice. She said they sneaked out while she was sleeping. Assetou told reporters she did not know if her children had survived the stampede. Fire service rescuers were at the scene two hours after but could not save the victims, AIP said.

The head of military rescue workers, Lieutenant Colonel Issa Sako, told public television yesterday that about 60 people died and 200 were injured, based on a provisional toll. Another rescue official said the toll was 61 dead and 48 injured, France 24 TV reported. The site – near Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium – was yesterday littered with abandoned clothes, shoes and blood stains. The 65,000-capacity stadium on the night before the tragedy hosted a concert by US performer, Chris Brown.