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22 killed in Stampede in Ivory Coast

Twenty-two people were killed and another 132 wounded in a soccer stampede at a World Cup qualifying match on Sunday in the Ivory Coast, authorities said, reported the New York Times.

Fans pushed against eachother and sparked a panic that evolved into a stampede at the Houphouet-Boigny arena in the West African country's city of Abidjan, said Interior Minister Desire Tagro, according to the New York Times.

The BBC says a wall collapsed under the weight of the supporters, causing the fans already in to try squeeze into the stadium to panic.

''They started pushing to get in because the match was about to start and each and every one of them wanted to get in,'' said Tagro on state television, reported the New York Times.

Some 36,000 people were in the stadium for the where Ivory Coast beat Malawi 5-0. It was packed for the return of Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, who scored twice, reported the BBC's John James.

The BBC reports that one of their correspondents said the authorities tried desperately to control the panicking crowd, firing tear gas into the crowds to control the fans.

The New York Times reports that there have been many stampedes at Africa's stadiums, whose outnumbered and under equiped security forces 'are often unable to control the voluminous crowds'.

BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7971140.stm
New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/03/29/world/AP-AF-Ivory-Coast-Stampede.html