Ivory Coast mourns after new year stampede in Abidjan

President Alassane Ouattara said his country is experiencing a "national tragedy"

Related Stories

Three days of mourning have been declared in Ivory Coast following a New Year's Eve stampede that killed at least 61 people in Abidjan.

Hundreds of people leaving a fireworks event at a stadium in the Plateau district were jammed into a tiny street in the early hours of Tuesday: many were crushed; others suffocated.

An investigation is under way. Many victims were said to be 15 or younger.

President Alassane Ouattara described the deaths as a national tragedy.

Different theories are emerging as to what caused the stampede after the fireworks display ended in the 65,000-capacity Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium.

'Trampled with our children'

Some say a group of youths brandishing knives was snatching people's mobile phones, causing panic among the large crowd, says the BBC's West Africa correspondent Thomas Fessy.

But others say security forces acted ineptly as they tried to control the many thousands walking through the city centre - triggering the stampede which has left many more people injured, some critically.


Desperate parents went to the city morgue, hospital and stadium to search for their children, AP news agency reports.

They included Mamadou Sanogo, who was looking for his nine-year-old son, Sayed, it adds.

"I have just seen all the bodies, but I cannot find my son. I don't know what to do," a tearful Mr Sanogo said.

A market vendor injured in the incident, Sanata Zoure, told Reuters news agency that revellers going home after watching the fireworks display were stopped by police near the stadium.

"We were walking with our children and we came upon barricades, and people started falling into each other. We were trampled with our children," she is quoted as saying.

Mr Ouattara visited some of the wounded who were taken to two hospitals in the country's main city and promised that the costs of their medical treatment would be covered by the government.

The fireworks event had been organised to celebrate the end of the conflict triggered by former President Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to recognise Mr Ouattara's victory in 2010 elections.

Mr Gbagbo is now facing trial on war crimes charge at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The night before the tragedy, the stadium, named after Ivory Coast's founding president, hosted a concert by US performer Chris Brown.

In 2009, 19 football fans died during a crush at the same stadium before a World Cup qualifier against Malawi.

Are you in the area? Have you been affected by this story? Send us your comments using the form below.

Have your say

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Africa stories


Features & Analysis

  • Cartoon of women chatting on the metroChat wagon

    The interesting things you hear in a women-only carriage

  • Replica of a cargo boxSpecial delivery

    The man who posted himself to the other side of the world

  • Music scoreFinal score Watch

    Goodbye to NYC's last classical sheet music shop

  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her Blackberry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya'Emailgate'

    Hillary gets a taste of scrutiny that lies ahead

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show


  • A cyborg cockroachClick Watch

    The cyborg cockroach – why has a computer been attached to this insect’s nervous system?

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.