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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 November 2007, 15:10 GMT
Alcohol a factor in Zambia deaths

By Kennedy Gondwe
BBC Sport, Lusaka

Coffins of the 12 fans who died
Coffins of the 12 fans who died at the Chililabombwe stadium

The sale of alcohol at Konkola Stadium was the primary cause of a stampede that killed 12 fans in Zambia, a report has revealed.

The incident occurred in June after Zambia beat the Republic of Congo 3-0 in a Ghana 2008 Africa Cup qualifier.

The fans were crushed to death as they left Konkola Stadium in the Copperbelt town of Chililabombwe.

Zambia's President Levy Mwanawasa ordered an inquiry in the aftermath of the tragedy that also led to 46 people needing hospital treatment.

On the release of the report, Sports Minister Gabriel Namulambe told parliament the sale of alcohol inside and outside the arena was the main cause.

"Alcohol contributed significantly to the stampede as it caused general unruliness by drunken hooligans," Namulambe said.

This became a problem in a venue already overcrowded by the re-selling of match tickets.

In addition, a delayed kick-off meant the game ended at dusk which caused more problems.

"This led to a panic situation as most of the spectators who had travelled from other towns had to rush out of the stadium in order to get on buses to their respective places," Namulambe explained.

Alcohol contributed significantly to the stampede as it caused general unruliness by drunken hooligans.
Gabriel Namulambe, Zambia Sports Minister

Poor visibility, lack of proper crowd control and security lapses all contributed to the ensuing confusion.

A fight started at one of the gates as pick-pockets took advantage of the dusk and started stealing cell-phones and money from the crowd.

Some fans were caught up in the disturbance and were crushed to death.

Despite the tragedy, however, Konkola stadium could host Zambia’s 2010 World Cup qualifiers.

The Independence stadium, Zambia’s biggest arena, is currently undergoing rehabilitation leaving Konkola as the only alternative venue.



SEE ALSO
Chililabombwe hosts Chad game
08 Jun 07 |  African
Zambian President orders probe
03 Jun 07 |  African


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