Raila wants audit into stadium tragedy

October 24, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 24 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has sent a message of condolences to relatives and friends of the seven soccer fans who were trampled to death during Saturday night\’s Kenya Premier League match at the Nyayo National Stadium.

He regretted the tragic incident but appealed for calm when he visited and consoled the casualties of the stadium chaos at the Kenyatta National Hospital.
Mr Odinga who rushed to the hospital immediately after learning of the unfortunate turn of events assured the injured fans that the government would facilitate their treatment.

The Premier said a comprehensive audit of the circumstances under which the stampede occurred would be conducted to help in mapping out measures to avert a recurrence of similar disasters in future.
The impatient fans reportedly broke into the stadium moments after the match pitting archrivals Gor Mahia and The AFC leopard football clubs.

Football lovers in their thousands had braved the rainy evening to watch the match between the two teams whose encounters in the local premiership league has historically attracted fanatical supporters to the stadium.

Police and Kenya Red Cross officials said six of the victims were trampled to death as thousands of fans tried to force their way into the Nyayo National Stadium.

The seventh person died at the Kenyatta National Hospital where 11 other fans were undergoing treatment for injuries.

"Our emergency rescue teams are on the ground and they have been able to confirm the deaths of six people whose bodies have been found outside the stadium. They are five males and a female," Kenya Red Cross spokesman Titus Mung\’ou, told Capital News on telephone.

"We can also confirm that another person has succumbed to injuries at the Kenyatta National Hospital," he said and added: "That is what we at the Red Cross can say for now because there are several other emergency rescue teams from other organizations involved."

One of the injured fans Jimmy Oredo who was treated and discharged at the Kenyatta National Hospital said congestion at one of the entries into the stadium led to the stampede.

"I was in the queue and so many people were outside queuing at a very tiny entrance. Those people (organisers) were very slow," said Mr Oredo.

"There were so many people outside and they forced themselves towards the gate and it caved in. A lot of people fell on me," he added.

Kenya Premier League (KPL) Medical Chairman Andrew Sulleh who was at the hospital said trouble started when some fans tried to get to the main stand to shield themselves from rain.

"It was raining heavily so people started to cross over to the main dais so that they don\’t get rained on. In the process, there was a stampede and some of the people were injured, and the gate that leads out of the stadium for the ambulance was closed and it forced fans to carry the injured round (the stadium) to get to the ambulance," said Mr Sulleh.

"As we resuscitated the victims, there was still no access for the ambulances to get into the stadium and some of the people who we could have saved died as we watched," he added.

"The stadium was packed. Even after the arrival of three other ambulances, they still could not access the stadium," said Mr Sulleh.

Earlier this year, football\’s Word governing body FIFA banned the stadium due to safety and security concerns.

Gor Mahia eventually won the game 1-0 following an 87th minute penalty that was converted by Collins Okoth.



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