At least nine people, including a 10-year-old boy, have died as crowds rushing to see a New Year’s firework display got stuck in a narrow corridor in a shopping mall near Uganda’s capital, police said.
People started pushing through a passage in the Freedom City Mall in Kampala just after clocks struck midnight, the police said on Sunday.
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“Very many people got stuck as they were entering in large numbers to see fireworks. In doing so, many people suffocated to death. So far nine people are confirmed dead,” the police statement said.
People had been celebrating the New Year at the mall which is on a highway linking Kampala to Entebbe International Airport.
“Emergency responders arrived on the scene and transported the injured individuals to the hospital, where nine were confirmed dead,” police spokesman Luke Owoyesigyire said.
Owoyesigyire added that “rash” acts and “negligence” had led to the tragedy.
The celebrations to welcome in 2023 were the first in the East African country since restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and security issues were lifted.