Confederation of African Football (Caf) has expressed its “deep sorrow” at the loss of 15 football fans’ lives in a deadly stampede during the Congolese league match between AS Vita and Club TP Mazembe in Kinshasa.
The trouble reportedly began in additional time of the game when supporters of the hosts, Vita- trailing 0-1 to the visiting Mazembe- disgruntled at the scoreline hauled stone unto the pitch. The police responded by firing tear gas canisters in the crowded stadium, causing panic.
The stampeded caused the collapse of a wall and a gate of the Tata Raphael Stadium, venue of the final day league match of the national championship.
More than 20 people were injured.
CAF President Issa Hayatou, in his condolence message to the families of the victims and the Congolese football federation, FECOFA, said:
“I would like to express my deepest sympathy on hearing of the untimely deaths of at least 15 people during the match of AS Vita and TP Mazembe. Personally, and on behalf of the members of the African football community, I should be grateful if you could extend our deepest condolences to their families, friends and loved ones.
He further wished those reported injured and receiving medical attention “full recoveries”.
He reiterated CAF’s strong position on combating all forms of violence at stadia, while urging concerned authorities to investigate and ensure any future occurrences of such are “forestalled”.
“I wish to re-emphasize that any acts of violence have no place in football. They must be condemned in the strongest possible terms and I urge the Fecofa and authorities in the DRC to thoroughly investigate this matter and ensure that measures put in place to avoid a repeat of any incidents are fully briefed with CAF and forestall any such occurrence,” Hayatou added.
Both Congolese league rivals are in the same group in the African Champions League and are due to play each other later this month in Lubumbashi, home city to TP Mazembe.