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Thu Oct 23 13:44:18 SAST 2014

Deadly Ivory Coast stampede caused by barricades

Sapa-AP | 02 January, 2013 13:24
Shoes are seen along a street in Plateau district where a stampede occurred after a New Year's Eve fireworks display in Abidjan January 1, 2013.
Image by: THIERRY GOUEGNON / Reuters

Two survivors of the New Year's stampede in ivory Coast that killed 61 people say barricades that were set up unofficially created the crush of thousands of people who were leaving a fireworks display.

The two survivors, who are hospitalized at Cocody Hospital, said Wednesday that after the fireworks they were prevented from moving along the Boulevard de la Republic by wooden barricades. Newspapers in Ivory Coast have speculated that the roadblocks were set up so pickpockets could steal money and mobile phones.

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, who declared three days of national mourning starting Wednesday, has ordered an immediate investigation into the causes of the stampede. He said the government would open a crisis center to help families find missing people and to take testimony from witnesses.

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