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60 Killed in Ivory Coast Stampede

  • VOA News

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara (L) and his wife Dominique (C) stand next to a child, injured in a stampede, during a visit to the Cocody hospital in Abidjan, on January 1, 2013.

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara (L) and his wife Dominique (C) stand next to a child, injured in a stampede, during a visit to the Cocody hospital in Abidjan, on January 1, 2013.

Officials in Ivory Coast say at least 60 people were crushed to death during a stampede at a New Year's celebration in Abidjan.

Rescue workers say about 50 others were injured in the incident early Tuesday near a stadium in the Plateau district, where hundreds of thousands of people had gathered to watch fireworks.

Most of those killed were children and teenagers. The government says it is investigating what caused the stampede. President Alassane Ouattara calls it a national tragedy.

Abandoned shoes litter a street in Plateau district where a stampede occurred after a New Year's Eve fireworks display, Abidjan, Jan. 1, 2013.

Abandoned shoes litter a street in Plateau district where a stampede occurred after a New Year's Eve fireworks display, Abidjan, Jan. 1, 2013.

Ivorian journalist Landry Kohon said that two large waves of people, moving in opposite directions, bumped into each other on a narrow street.

Another witness, Amara Traore, said that law enforcement blocked an exit in the area, which kept the crowd from moving.

Both Kohon and Traore said ambulances had trouble reaching the victims.

"It's a national tragedy, of course, and I really hope that we will push ourselves to investigate to see what could have been prevented, this tragedy, so that it will never happen again," said Ouattara.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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