13 dead after "witchcraft" claim causes riot
According to the Associated Press, U.N.-funded radio station revealed Monday that a claim that a soccer player was using witchcraft during a game in eastern Congo incited a riot that left 13 people dead.
Radio Okapi said the majority of the victims were children between the ages of 11 and 16. They suffocated after being trampled under the panicking crowd.
The game, which took place Sunday in Butembo in eastern Congo's North Kivu province., was between the soccer clubs Socozaki and Nyuki System, the radio said.
Police fired shots into the air in an attempt to calm the crowds at Matokeo stadium. They also wanted to protect their commander, who was wounded after being hit in the head by fans.
Julien Mpaluku, the regional governor, confirmed that soldiers fired shots to control the violence - an act that caused panic and chaos instead. The situation became deadly "when the crowds all tried to leave at the same time," Mpaluku said. He did not mention witchcraft.
"Most of the dead were children, only two or three were adults," Mpaluku said.
Teenagers marched the streets of Butembo Monday in protest. Thousands of people have been displaced in recent years due to violence between Congo's army and rebels.
The government is currently investigating Sunday's events, the article said.