At Least 8 Dead After Stampede Outside Stadium Hosting Africa Cup of Nations Game

Erin Walsh

The newly built Olembé stadium in Yaoundé, Cameroon, Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022. The African Cup of Nations takes place in Cameroon and starts on Sunday, Jan. 9. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
AP Photo/Themba Hadebe

At least eight people were killed and another 38 were injured on Monday in a stampede outside of Olembe Stadium before an Africa Cup of Nations soccer game, in Yaounde, Cameroon, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com).

The stampede happened as a large crowd "struggled to get access" to the stadium to watch Cameroon's match against Comoros in the Africa Cup of Nations round of 16, per the Associated Press. It is the first time in 50 years that Cameroon is hosting Africa's top international soccer tournament.

Around 50,000 people attempted to attend the match, according to officials. The stadium has a capacity of 60,000, but it was restricted to 80 percent capacity (48,000) because of restrictions on crowd sizes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Witnesses told the AP the crush occurred after "stadium stewards closed the gates and stopped allowing people in."

The Confederation of African Football said in a statement it is aware of the crush and is "trying to get more details on what transpired," per Sky Sports. The confederation also said general secretary Veron Mosengo-Omba had been sent to visit injured fans in the hospital.

Officials at Messassi hospital in Yaounde told the AP the facility had received at least 40 injured patients who were brought in by both police and civilians, but the hospital was unable to treat all of them. 

Olinga Prudence, a nurse at the hospital, said some of the injured were "in desperate condition" and had to be transported to other "specialized" hospitals.

Cameroon won the game 2-1 with goals from Karl Toko Ekambi in the 29th minute and Vincent Aboubakar in the 70th minute.