Children among at least ten dead in Uganda New Year crowd crush

AFP - BADRU KATUMBA

At least ten people died, most aged between 10 and 20, in a shopping mall crush as revellers rang in the New Year in Uganda's capital, Kampala, according to local police.

After fireworks outside the Freedom City mall in Kampala, "a stampede ensued, resulting in the instant deaths of five people and injuries to several others," national police spokesman Luke Owoyesigyire said.

Four others died on their way to hospital "largely due to suffocation".

Emergency workers arrived on the scene and transported the injured individuals to the hospital, where nine were confirmed dead, according to Owoyesigyire.

A further death was reported on Monday.

"Rash" acts and "negligence" led to the tragedy, he added.

The celebrations to welcome in 2023 were the first in the east African country in three years, after restrictions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic and security issues.

"Most of the dead were juveniles, ages 10, 11 14 and 20," Kampala police spokesman Patrick Onyango told the AFP news agency.

"There are several injured and our team of investigators are following up to get the exact number."

Scenes of chaos

Local broadcaster NTV has said the death toll is now 10, and that police have arrested music promoter Abbey Musinguzi of Abitex Promotions, the company allegedly responsible for organising the event.

One of the survivors, businesswoman Sylvia Nakalema, said the stampede started "when we went to view the fireworks on the platform and while returning downstairs.

"Children were crying and there was chaos.


Read more on RFI English

Read also:
TotalEnergies in court over massive oil projects in Uganda, Tanzania
Uganda still struggling to tackle Ebola as the death toll passes 50
Olembé Stadium tragedy: sports minister condemns 'reckless' move to open gate