Friday 19 December 2014

At least 34 killed in stampede at Guinea beach concert

* Bodies of children seen among the dead
* Rap concert was to celebrate end of Ramadan
* President declares week of mourning

Saliou Samb

Published 30/07/2014 | 13:39

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY MOUCTAR BAH AND ZOOM DOSSO
A picture taken on June 25, 2014 shows a Guinean man washing his hands at the entrance of the Sino-Guinean hospital of Kipe in the Ratoma municipality, where the first person infected with the Ebola virus was treated in Conakry. An epidemic of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa is now "out of control" with more than 60 outbreak hotspots, the medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on June 23. After the first reported cases in Guinea at the start of the year, at least 337 people have died from Ebola in the three countries in 2014, according to data released last week by the World Health Organization. AFP PHOTO / CELLOU BINANI        (Photo credit should read CELLOU BINANI/AFP/Getty Images)
In January, six youths were killed on another beach in Conakry when a bridge collapsed during New Year's celebrations. AFP PHOTO / CELLOU BINANI

At least 34 people, including several children, were killed in a stampede at a beachside rap concert celebrating the end of Ramadan in Guinea's capital Conakry, medical sources said on Wednesday.

Hundreds of people gathered at the Donka hospital in the capital to visit the injured and identify the dead. A Reuters reporter saw the bodies of three children among the dead. Witnesses put the number at around ten.

"There are currently 34 bodies in the morgue. The list of injured keeps growing," a medical source told Reuters, requesting anonymity. "The oldest among them can't be more than 20. There are young girls among them," he said.

The presidency declared a week of mourning. The head of a government agency for entertainment had been removed from his post following the incident overnight, the presidency added.

Witnesses said the event was attended by up to 10,000 people, mostly children and youths, who came to see popular local rap groups 'Banlieuzart' and 'Instinct Killers'.

In January, six youths were killed on another beach in Conakry when a bridge collapsed during New Year's celebrations. Conakry's beaches are small compared to other regional capitals like Dakar and Freetown and entrances and exits are often narrow.

The stampede, which occurred during celebrations to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in mainly Muslim Guinea, comes at a time when health workers are stretched by an outbreak of Ebola.

The deadly tropical virus was first detected in the poor, mineral-rich West African country in February and has since spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone, killing more than 670 people, according to the World Health Organization.

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