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Investigation begins into Senegal football stadium disaster

Shocking footage of Senegal stadium wall collapse that left eight dead

Dakar, Senegal | AFP | Senegalese prosecutors on Monday announced the opening of a judicial enquiry into a stadium tragedy, as a local team whose fans were accused of triggering a deadly stampede were suspended from the country’s football federation.

Multiple witnesses told AFP that US Ouakam fans threw stones and other objects at Stade de Mbour supporters when Mbour scored a goal to take a 2-1 lead in extra time during Senegal’s League Cup final on Saturday.

A wall collapsed onto fans as they fled the stadium to escape the hail of projectiles, while others were crushed in the panic.

State prosecutor Serigne Bassirou Gueye announced an investigation into what he called “ignoble acts”, adding the perpetrators would be “brought to justice” for the deaths of eight people and injuries of dozens more.

“Violence of every kind was committed. Traces of blood and other debris at the site testify to the atrocities committed,” Gueye said at a press conference, adding autopsies on the dead had been ordered.

The Senegalese Football Federation announced earlier on Monday the suspension of US Ouakam from the national sporting body, citing “the loss of lives and serious injuries” at the Demba Diop stadium in Dakar.

The federation’s discipline committee would meet soon to decide on sanctions against US Ouakam, it said.

US Ouakam hail from the capital, Dakar, while Stade de Mbour are based 80 kilometres (50 miles) to the south.

Police have defended their behaviour among the confusion, as tear gas was fired and officers were accused of retreating from a neutral zone between fans when the violence began.

Campaigning for Senegal’s legislative elections also restarted Monday after a 24-hour suspension out of respect for the victims.

The government on Sunday suspended all sports and cultural events until elections at the end of the month.

On Friday rival supporters of President Sall and Mayor Sall, who are not related, clashed armed with knives in northern Dakar and several people were injured.

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