Congo-Brazzaville – At least 37 people have died in a stampede during an army recruitment drive at a stadium in Congo-Brazzaville, the government has said.
Some people tried to force their way through stadium’s gates in the capital, Brazzaville, causing the stampede, residents have been quoted as saying.
Many people were injured in the crush, a government statement said.
It did not give a number, but said that a “crisis unit” has been set up, the AFP news agency reports.
Last week, the army announced plans to recruit about 1,500 people between the ages of 18 and 25.
According to the Associated Press agency, as many as 700 people a day have been registering over the last week at recruitment centres.
Details of what exactly happened at Michel d’Ornano stadium are sketchy.
Thousands of young people had reportedly gathered outside the stadium on Monday.
Brandon Tsetou, a graduate who survived the crush, said he had queued since early on Monday.
“According to the organisers, it was to be the last day. That’s why many of us decided to wait until late into the night, hoping to register,” he told AP.
“Some were so impatient that they had to force their way in, causing a stampede that left a number of people dead or injured, which we deplore
Youth unemployment is at around 42% in Congo-Brazzaville, with many young people seeing the army as one of the few places where they can secure a job.