At least 12 people were killed and 80 injured after a stampede of sports fans tried to enter Madagascar’s national stadium for the opening ceremony of the Indian Ocean Island Games, according to media reports Friday.
The Atlanta Federation of African Press Agencies said Prime Minister Christian Ntsay told a news conference outside a hospital in Antananarivo about the casualty figures.
President Andry Rajoelina asked the crowd inside the stadium to observe a minute of silence in memory of the victims.
“There are about 50,000 of us in the stadium,” said Rajoelina. “But a tragic event occurred because there was pushing and shoving. There were injuries and deaths at the entrance.”
The accident at Barea Stadium in Antananarivo when fans tried to enter after long lines of spectators formed to access the venue.
Athletes from Mauritius, Seychelles, Comoros Union, Mayotte, Reunion and Maldives are participating in the Indian Ocean Island Games, which was first held in 1977.
The Games are a multi-disciplinary competition being held in Madagascar through Sept. 3.