Ghana mourns soccer crush victims
ACCRA, Ghana -- Ghana is mourning 126 people killed in Africa's worst football tragedy.
The disaster happened at the end of a match at the Accra Sports' Stadium between premier league rivals Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko, Ghana Television journalist Francisca Ashietey-Odunton told CNN.
Scores of fans were also injured as some 70,000 spectators tried to get out of the stadium after police fired tear gas at soccer fans who were tearing up seats.
Ashietey-Odunton said there were reports that all the stadium's gates were locked at the time of the incident and there was a general feeling was that police had over reacted.
President John Kufuor has summoned his cabinet for an emergency meeting later on Thursday and his aides said that a period of national mourning will be declared.
Authorities have promised an inquiry into the incident.
"I have set up an internal probe to investigate this tragedy. We're not going to shield anybody," Ghana's top police officer, Inspector General Ernest Owusu-Poku, told local Joy FM Radio.
"There was a mad rush out of the stadium," spectator Mohammed Anwar told Reuters news agency.
"There was smoke and there was debris, and I counted at least 15 people lying on the floor in one part of the stadium. Some were injured and some were clearly dead."
Brigadier Daniel Twum, of the military hospital where most of the dead and injured were taken after the tragedy, said the toll now stood at 126.
He knew of another 50 who had been injured, but said most were not in a serious condition.
Kufuor, clearly very shaken by the tragedy during a visit to the injured, told Reuters simply "this is really sad."
Accra Hearts of Oak were leading 2-1 against Assante Kotoko when the tragic chain of events started.
Bitter rivalry has long marked games between the teams, and the match was heavily policed.
Hearts of Oak's following is from the coastal capital Accra while Kotoko draws its support from the old Ashanti kingdom where President John Kufuor, at one time Kotoko's club chairman, has his roots.
Harry Zakour, chief executive of Hearts of Oak, criticised police for firing up to a dozen teargas canisters in the stadium.
"One would have been enough to scare the public," he said. "It's a very sad story. We will have to set up a committee to see what went wrong."
The hallways of Ghana's military hospital No. 37, where many of the casualties were taken, were crowded with bleeding casualties and relatives frantically searched for loved ones.
It was the fourth soccer disaster Africa -- which hopes to host the 2010 World Cup -- has suffered during the past month.
Forty-three people were killed on April 11 at a stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa. Another crush of fans on April 29 killed eight people in Lubumbashi, Congo.
On May 6, fighting broke out among fans at a soccer match in Ivory Coast, killing one person and injuring 39.
125 killed in Ghana soccer crush
Ghana Football Association
U.S. 'ready to talk' with N. Korea
Death toll nears 1,000 in South Asia's cold spell
IAEA: Year for Iraq inspections
U.S. doubles forces in Persian Gulf
Mugabe resignation offer proposed
OPEC to raise daily oil output
N. Y. plans to heal skyline
Stocks rise on Case departure
Lieberman's presidential announcement today
New arrests may be linked to UK ricin scare
Jordan says farewell for the third time
Shaq could miss playoff game for child's birth
Ex-USOC official says athletes bent drug rules
|Back to the top|