(WatchDogReport.org) – The Congolese government recently revealed that 37 people died during a stampede that took place in an army recruitment drive at the Michel D’Ornano stadium in Congo’s capital city, Brazzaville. Different reports stated that the incident started after people tried to force their way through the gates,
On November 16, the Congolese army announced it was going to recruit nearly 2,000 people between the ages of 18 and 25. In a statement, Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi said that many people were injured in the stampede. While he didn’t provide an official number, he announced that Prime Minister Anatole Makosso will set up a “crisis unit” that will investigate the matter and make sure that those responsible “pay for it.”
According to an Associated Press report, nearly 2,500 people have been registered at the recruitment centers so far. The news agency pointed out that youth unemployment is currently at 42 percent, which is the main reason why so many young Congolese see the army as a way to secure a job. The African nation is also experiencing an economic crisis, which is prompting thousands of Congolese to leave for Europe or other neighboring countries.
During a press conference, Congo’s public prosecutor, Oko Ngakala, told reporters that the government would “respond” to the families of those who died during the massive stampede. He also said that the government feels “proud” that the “younger generations” are eager to serve the nation by being part of its army.
During an interview with AFP, morgue official Adelard Bondo said that 33 bodies had been officially identified by family members. He noted that every Congolese should pay their respects to “the memory” of the young people who were crushed to death. He also explained that what happened was an “accident” and it wasn’t provoked by anybody. Bondo added that the incident is the result of the country’s economic crisis and the younger generation’s “Desperate need” to find a job.
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