Mali stadium stampede kills worshippers

At least 36 killed as crowd left stadium in capital filled beyond capacity for Muslim holy festival, say witnesses

Thirty-six people were killed and at least 64 others injured in a stampede at a stadium hosting a religious ceremony in Mali.

Tens of thousands had gathered to receive blessings from one of Mali's best-known imams, Ousmane Madani Haidara, during the Muslim festival of Maouloud.

Witnesses said the 25,000-seat Modibo Keita stadium in the capital, Bamako, had been filled well beyond its maximum capacity.

As the participants left the ceremony on Monday night, the crowd surged against a metal barrier, said Sadio Gassama, Mali's security minister. Another official said nearly all those who died were women.

Families waiting outside Bamako's Gabriel Toure hospital wept and comforted each other. At the city's central morgue, Ahmed Dada waited to collect the body of a 25-year-old friend.

"God decides everything," he told the Associated Press. "We all know we are just on the planet for a short time."

Sidiki Coulibaly was visibly shaken as he waited for news. "I've already had it confirmed that my aunt died. We are now trying to find out what happened to her daughter. She's just 10 years old. They go to this event together every year."

Mali's prime minister, Modibo Sidibé, visited the hospital to see the wounded and offer condolences to the bereaved.

At the point where people had been crushed, security personnel were collecting piles of shoes to put into a waiting van. A young girl sat on a bucket at the edge of the scene, crying. She had lost both parents and did not know her way home.

Last year at least 15 people died in another stampede at a mosque in Timbuktu during Maouloud.

Contributor

David Smith in Johannesburg

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
War-torn Mali plans to build university in Timbuktu
Snowflake-shaped campus in Sahara to draw on city’s Islamic heritage, as Bono backs plans to revive Tuareg music festival

Charlie English in Bamako

21, Oct, 2014 @6:43 PM

Article image
Mali braced for military intervention amid fears it could become 'next Somalia'
Up to 5,000 troops could be deployed to Mali in coming days to combat escalating Islamic extremism, say West African nations

Afua Hirsch, West Africa correspondent

06, Jul, 2012 @4:28 PM

Article image
Alleged militant appears at The Hague charged with cultural destruction in Mali
Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi is accused by the international criminal court of destroying mausoleums and a mosque in Timbuktu

David Smith Africa correspondent

30, Sep, 2015 @3:29 PM

Article image
The struggle for Mali | Jack Watling and Paul Raymond
The long read: Last week’s deadly attack on a Bamako hotel was only the latest example of the government’s weakness, which has fostered a dangerous climate of sectarianism

Jack Watling and Paul Raymond

25, Nov, 2015 @6:00 AM

Article image
How the west misread Mali | Ian Birrell
Ian Birrell: Conflict in the Sahel isn't a legacy of western intervention in Libya. But imposing a new order would be a huge mistake

Ian Birrell

25, Jan, 2013 @9:30 AM

Article image
Mali needs more than a call to arms | Wole Soyinka
Wole Soyinka: West Africa's al-Qaida clones are neither religious nor political. The world is facing viral mutations of the human psyche

Wole Soyinka

01, Feb, 2013 @7:49 PM

Article image
Mali: no rhythm or reason as militants declare war on music

Islamist militants are banning music in northern Mali, a chilling proposition for a country where music is akin to mineral wealth

Andy Morgan

23, Oct, 2012 @4:29 PM

Article image
Islamist fighter's case begins in first ICC trial for gender persecution
Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud accused of war crimes in Mali

Jason Burke Africa correspondent

14, Jul, 2020 @3:19 PM

Article image
Mali battles over women's rights
Even educated women have only a limited view of the possibility of extended human rights and opportunities

Rebecca Stewart

07, Sep, 2010 @12:59 PM

Article image
Mali war exposes religious faultlines
Reputation for peaceful co-existence shattered as balance of power between moderate and extremist groups shifts, says Celeste Hicks

Celeste Hicks Bamako

03, May, 2013 @11:37 AM