Madagascar island games’ opening ceremony; 12 people dead

Madagascar’s Prime Minister Christian Ntsay said at least 12 people have been killed in a crowd crush at a stadium in Antananarivo, the country’s capital.

Reports say another 80 people were hurt during the opening ceremony of the Indian Ocean Island Games at the Mahamasina stadium.

President Andry Rajoelina, who was at the stadium, described the incident as tragic, and called for a minute’s silence.

The Mahamasina stadium – with a capacity of nearly 41,000 – is reported to have been packed with spectators.

A number of injured persons were seen sitting on the ground and other victims carried away from the stadium, in a footage that emerged.

The Indian Ocean Island Games, set up in 1977, is a multi-sport event held every four years, with participants drawn from the island nations and territories of Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, the Maldives and RĂ©union.

In 2018, one person died and nearly 40 others were injured in a crush at the Mahamasina before the start of a Madagascar-Senegal football match.

In 2016, two people were killed and about 80 injured in a grenade explosion at the same venue during Madagascar’s national day celebrations. The blast happened during a free concert.

Two years earlier, a grenade explosion killed a toddler and injured several other people outside the same stadium.

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