KINSHASA : Fifteen people were killed and 21 others injured after trouble broke out at a football match in the DR Congo capital Kinshasa on Sunday, during which police fired tear gas at fans, officials said.
The death toll was announced by Kinshasa governor Andre Kimbuta, who rushed with the country’s Interior Minister Richard Muyej to the hospital where many of the dead and injured were taken. “The current toll... is 15 dead and 21 injured,” he said.
The match was an important play-off between popular teams ASV Club and Tout Puissant Mazembe. ASV Club supporters became agitated as their team were being beaten, UN-created Radio Okapi reported.
“They began hurling projectiles onto the pitch, forcing the referee to stop the match repeatedly,” the radio report continued. The match ended in a hail of stones thrown from the stands where fighting broke out, the national television station said.
Police fired tear gas cannisters into the crowd, there was a stampede in the stands “and in this confusion a stadium wall collapsed,” Radio Okapi reported.
Tout Puissant Mazembe were a goal ahead when the trouble started.
The precise cause of the deaths was not immediately clear.
An enquiry was launched into the disaster “to identify those responsible,” said Kimbuta.
Before the match dozens of police officers were deployed around the Tata Raphael stadium, following trouble at previous matches between the two sides.
ASV Club is a very popular Kinshasa football club.
Multiple champions TP Mazembe are based in Lubumbashi in the south-east and are linked to businessman Moise Katumbi, governor of the rich mining province of Katanga, of which Lubumbashi is the capital.