New Year stampede kills 60 in Ivory Coast
(UPDATED) ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast - At least 60 people died and dozens more were injured in Abidjan as crowds stampeded overnight during celebratory New Year's fireworks, Ivory Coast rescue workers said Tuesday.
The head of military rescue workers, Lieutenant Colonel Issa Sako, told public television that "60 people" died and 200 were injured based on a preliminary toll. Another rescue official told AFP the toll was "61 dead and 48 injured".
The rescue official said the injured had been taken to hospitals in Abidjan. An AFP journalist saw many injured children.
The flow of people coming to the entrance of the city's main stadium to watch the fireworks caused a "very large crush", Sako said. "In the crush, people were walked over and suffocated by the crowd."
Images broadcast by RTI television showed bodies stretched lifeless on the ground. Piles of abandoned shoes and clothing could also be seen at the stadium, where soldiers and police were deployed.
The New Year's fireworks, the city's second in two years, had been touted as a symbol of national renewal under President Alassane Ouattara after the violent post-election crisis that tore the country apart from December 2010 to April 2011, killing some 3,000 people.
Ouattara had delivered an optimistic New Year's message on Monday evening, saying the country had "possibilities like seldom before" ahead of it and promising it would soon reap the rewards of economic growth and development. – Rappler.com