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Page last updated at 23:55 GMT, Saturday, 21 March 2009

'Deadly' stampede at Pope speech

By Louise Redvers
BBC News, Luanda

Crowd at Luanda's Coqueiros Stadium. Photo: 21 March 2009
More than 50,000 people came to hear the Pope in Luanda

Two people have been reportedly killed in a stampede in a crowd that gathered at a football stadium in Angola for an address by Pope Benedict XVI.

Reports say eight other people were injured and 10 more people required medical assistance at Luanda's Coqueiros Stadium.

More than 50,000 people turned out to hear the Pope in the Angolan capital.

If confirmed, the deaths will no doubt sour what has been a hugely colourful papal visit to the African country.

A girl and a boy were crushed as they tried to enter the stadium gates, according to Portugal's Lusa news agency.

They were taken to hospital by ambulance but declared dead on arrival.

A number of other people are also said to have been injured in the stampede.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said he was aware of the report but was unable to confirm any details.

No-one from the police or hospital was available for comment.

Huge crowds have turned out at every opportunity to see Pope Benedict in Angola, and on Sunday he is due to celebrate Mass for two million people outside a cement factory.

Security there will now no doubt be tighter than ever.

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