23 killed in Congo concert stampede

More than 20 people were killed on Friday in south western Congo when generators failed during a festival honouring a popular singer, plunging the stadium into darkness and causing a stampede, officials and witnesses said.

The power failure at the stadium in the town of Kikwit occurred at around 2 a.m. local time on Friday, said witness Papa Mukalay who attended the concert.

“Everyone wanted to be the first to get out. It was total confusion,” he said.

The provisional death toll by mid-Friday was 23 and injuries were also reported, said government spokesman Lambert Mende. He said investigations into the cause of the power outage had been launched.

Kikwit is the hometown of Jean Baptiste Emeneya, best known as King Kester Emeneya, a singer whose career spanned decades and who died in Paris in February at 57. A massive funeral ceremony for Emeneya was held in Kinshasa in March.

The festival was scheduled to last through Sunday, but the Bandundu provincial government said today the rest of the program would be cancelled.

“This morning activities have restarted quietly but people are in a state of shock,” Mr. Mukalay said.

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 7:41:59 PM |

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