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Wednesday, 20 June, 2001, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Poor security blamed for Ghana tragedy
Bodies at Ridge Hospital after stampede
At least 126 people died in the stampede
Poor safety arrangements and bad planning are being blamed for the Accra football stadium tragedy in which at least 126 people died, according to an interim report on the incident.


[There were] serious fraudulent practices within the general security system at the stadium

Interim report
On receiving the report, Ghanaian President John Kufuor said strong action would be taken against those found responsible for what has been described as Africa's worst sporting tragedy.

Three days of national mourning followed the 9 May tragedy and President Kufuor launched the commission of inquiry urging people to stay calm and wait for its results, rather than take matters into their own hands.

wrecked seats
Seats were wrecked as fans scrambled to flee the tear gas
The report, as quoted in a local newspaper, says "inadequate safety measures and poor structural planning greatly contributed to the tragic incident".

The report also mentions "serious fraudulent practices within the general security system at the stadium". No other details of the report have been released so far.

The disaster began when home team Accra Hearts of Oak scored two late goals to beat long time rivals Asante Kotoko 2-1.

Violence

Witnesses said Kotoko fans began destroying the plastic seats at the stadium and throwing them on to the running track.

In response the police began firing tear gas into the crowd and some fans retaliated with bottles.

As the tear gas spread, panic ensued as the fans scrambled for the exits.

Early reports said most of the exits out of the stadium were locked shut compounding the problem and leading to fans being suffocated and crushed to death.

In the aftermath of the incident the police were blamed for over-reacting to the violence, and angry football fans besieged police stations in Accra the day after.

The full report is expected in July.

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