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The BBC's Jim Fish
"The tragedy that has claimed more than 120 victims has shocked Ghanaians"
 real 56k

Thursday, 10 May, 2001, 23:12 GMT 00:12 UK
Ghana to investigate football tragedy
A woman grieves at hospital in Ghana
Ghana announced a three-day mourning period
The President of Ghana, John Kufuor, has set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the stampede at a football stadium in which at least 130 people died.

I appeal to all of you to show restraint and calm. The eyes of the world are upon us

Ghanaian President John Kufuor
The death toll could be even higher, as some bodies might have been taken home by relatives without the knowledge of hospital authorities, officials said.

Mr Kufuor declared three days of mourning following the disaster, the fourth and worst in an African stadium in less than a month.

The president said six police officers who were in charge of security at the Accra sports stadium during Wednesday's match were being questioned.

Many fans blamed the police for firing tear gas to control the rowdy fans, prompting a stampede for the narrow exits.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF), the sport's governing body on the continent, has called on Ghanaian police to refrain from using uncontrolled tear gas for crowd control.

Angry youths have attacked several police stations in Accra.

Appeal for calm

A mob battled with police at a central police station in an area where many of the dead come from, Nima.

Footwear left behind by those trying to escape the stampede
Police over-reaction is being blamed for the stampede
Presidential chief of staff Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey has appealed for calm and called on the youths to exercise patience for the law to take its course.

Earlier, distraught relatives besieged hospitals to identify dead and wounded relatives, leading to scuffles with security personnel.

A disaster fund has been opened to help families of the victims.

There has been an emotional and overwhelming response to the fund, with a $2,800 donation from the Ashanti king, who is life president of one of the teams involved in the tragedy.

So far almost $15,000 has been raised as major companies and individuals make contributions.


Medical officers at Accra's military hospital, which recorded the highest death toll, made an appeal to the British Government for aid to treat those in intensive care.

A man grieves while he waits to identify a body
People besieged hospitals to identify dead relatives
The medical director there has said that relatives will not be allowed to bury the dead until after autopsies are conducted.

But three victims have already been buried, as there is a conflict between officials and Muslim victims, who according to tradition, bury their dead within 24 hours.

President Kufuor has formed a funeral committee to organise a state funeral for the deceased.

All football activities in the country have been suspended indefinitely after a special meeting of the Ghana Football Association and its affiliates.

Minute's silence

The tragedy took place at the Accra Sports Stadium at the big clash between arch-rivals Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak.

Hearts of Oak had come from a goal down to defeat Kotoko 2-1. The result prompted an angry reaction from the Asante fans.

A Confederation of African Football (CAF) cup match scheduled this weekend will go ahead between Goldfields and Angolan side AS Aviacao.

The match could not be postponed because the Angolans had already left Luanda for Ghana.

A minute's silence will be observed before the kick-off on Sunday.

Messages of condolence have also been received by the GFA from neighbouring federations in West Africa, Europe and Latin America.

Football's governing body Fifa and CAF have also sent messages of sympathy.

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