By Lova Rabary
ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) -A stampede of sports fans trying to enter Madagascar’s national stadium for the opening ceremony of the Indian Ocean Island Games has killed 12 and injured around 80, the prime minister said on Friday.
Videos shared on social media showed Red Cross workers caring for dozens of injured people next to the athletics track.
Prime Minister Christian Ntsay said 11 of the injured were in a critical condition.
It was not immediately clear what caused the stampede, but at least 15 people were killed in a similar incident at the Mahamasina stadium in 2019.
“An unfortunate event happened. There was a stampede at the entrance. There were a lot of injuries. We will observe a few seconds of silence because compatriots have died when they wanted to enter,” President Andry Rajoelina told the crowd in the stadium.
After the silence, the ceremony continued with a laser show and fireworks.
The Indian Ocean Island Games were created by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1977, and include athletes from Mauritius, Seychelles, Comoros, Madagascar, Mayotte, Reunion and the Maldives.
(Reporting by Lova Rabary in Antananarivo; Writing by Hereward Holland; Editing by Chris Reese, Alistair Bell and Sandra Maler)