KINSHASA (Reuters) -Eleven people were killed on Saturday, including two police officers, in a crush at an overcrowded stadium concert in Kinshasa headlined by Congolese singer Fally Ipupa, the interior minister said.
The capital’s Stadium of Martyrs was packed beyond its capacity of 80,000 and some of the crowd ended up forcing their way into the VIP and reserved sections, Reuters reporters at the concert said.
Police have recorded “11 deaths, including 10 as a result of suffocation and the crush, and seven hospitalisations,” Minister Daniel Aselo Okito said in a statement.
Security forces earlier fired tear gas to try to disperse violent crowds in the streets outside the stadium where many had gathered ahead of the concert by Kinshasa-born Ipupa, who has won acclaim in Democratic Republic of Congo, Europe and elsewhere.
The eventual number of attendees inside the stadium vastly exceeded the number state and private security personnel present could control.
Ipupa said he only heard about the deaths on Sunday morning when he woke up after his performance.
“It pains me. I am from Kinshasa and of course I share in the grief of the families,” he told Reuters in an interview.
In 2020, French police evacuated the Gare de Lyon railway station in Paris after people started fires nearby in unrest ahead of a planned Ipupa concert.
(Reporting by Paul Lorgerie, Justin Makangara and Stanis BujakeraWriting by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Nick Macfie and Barbara Lewis)