Angola stampede: 16 killed at New Year vigil


At least 16 people, including four children, have been killed in a stampede during a religious gathering at a stadium in the Angolan capital. Angop, the Angolan news agency, cited officials as saying that 120 people were hurt in the crush in the southern African nation’s capital, Luanda. It came as Ivory Coast, in western Africa, began three days of national mourning after a stampede among crowds gathered for New Year’s Eve fireworks left at least 60 people dead and hundreds injured. The deadly crush in Angola also happened on New Year’s Eve, when panic spread amongst the tens of thousands of people gathered at the stadium for the evangelical vigil. Paulo Gaspar de Almeida, deputy commander-general of the Angolan police, said the victims were killed “due to asphyxia, shoving and trampling of faithful at the entrance of Cidadela stadium”. The event was organised by the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, an evangelical group founded in Brazil in 1977. “We were expecting 70,000 people but far more turned up,” Ferner Batalha, a bishop of the church, was quoted as saying. The Ivory Coast government said 60 people had died in the crush in Abidjan and the average age of those killed was 18. Earlier, the head of military rescue workers, Lieutenant Colonel Issa Sako, told journalists that 61 had died.