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Scores injured in stampede during Nigeria-Zambia match




Many football fans were seriously injured during a stampede that occurred at the entrance gate of Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, on Saturday.

The stadium was where the all-important World Cup qualifier between Nigeria and Zambia was played.

Reports say the stampede happened when security operatives tried to prevent some people from entering into the stadium.

Soldiers allegedly used sticks and batons to disperse the crowd and many sustained serious injuries as a result.

Five persons were said to have died in the incident but the claim could not be confirmed.

However, ambulances were seen conveying injured persons to the hospital.

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A correspondent with The Punch said he was also assaulted by the club-wielding soldiers and lost N 10,000 in the stampede.

Some persons who spoke with journalists say stampedes happen at the stadium every time an important football match is hosted there.

“I thank God that I’m alive. This is not the first time this kind of incident had occurred,” said Aniema Ekong.

“In fact, in every major tournament, there is always a tale of woes to tell about security agents injuring or killing people.”

Another fan who gave his name simply as Chukwudi, said his girlfriend was seriously injured by the security personnel at the gate, adding that “I don’t know why there is always trouble in this stadium”.

When contacted, Elkana Bala, the Akwa Ibom State Police Public Relations Officer, confirmed that there was a stampede and people sustained injuries but he stressed that no life was lost in the incident.

“It is confirmed that nobody died. But some persons were injured while struggling to gain access into the stadium,” Bala told newsmen via text message.

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“The injured persons were taken to hospital for medical attention.”

Nigeria defeated Zambia 1-0 to become the first African country to qualify for the 2018 World Cup which is scheduled to hold in Russia.

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