120 feared dead after soccer stampede

Up to 120 fans have been killed in a stampede at a packed soccer match between two of Ghana’s leading teams.

Up to 120 fans have been killed in a stampede at a packed soccer match between two of Ghana’s leading teams.

Ambulances raced through the streets of the capital Accra last night, more than an hour after the stampede, and radio stations were broadcasting appeals for all doctors to report to work to help treat the injured.

‘‘It is a great national tragedy,’’ said minister of presidential affairs Jake Obetsebi-Amptey, who visited a hospital.

‘‘Many people have died and many more are wounded and are bleeding.’’

He said the stampede had killed at least 100 people at the 45,000-capacity stadium, but had no exact figures. Some local reports said more than 120 fans were killed.

Home team Accra Hearts of Oak were 2-1 up against Asante Kotoko with five minutes left when Asante supporters began throwing bottles and chairs on to the field at Accra Stadium, the city’s main playing field, witnesses said.

Police responded by firing tear gas, creating panic in the stands as spectators rushed to escape, witnesses said.

The injured were rushed to surrounding hospitals.

The hallways of one hospital were crowded with bleeding, injured people, along with relatives frantically searching for loved ones.

Obetsebi-Amptey urged the families to return home and listen to the radio for more details - saying their presence was creating problems in the jammed hospital.

‘‘What is important now is to remain calm ... It is a night for us to mourn and not a night to worsen an already bad situation with anger and impatience.’’

The Asante Kotoko team is from the central city of Kumasi.

The tragedy is the fourth soccer disaster in Africa in the space of a month.

Forty-three people were killed on April 11 at a stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa; another stampede on April 29 killed eight people in Lubumbashi, Congo; and on May 6, fighting broke out among fans at a soccer match in Ivory Coast, killing one person and injuring 39.

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