Victims say Unauthorized Barricades Caused Stampede that Killed 61 People in Ivory Coast

Two survivors of the New Year's stampede in Ivory Coast that killed 61 people say barricades that were set up unofficially created the crush of thousands of people who were leaving a fireworks display.

Pictured: A soldier stands guard as a man walks among clothing and various items spread scattered on the pavement at the scene of a deadly stampede in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, early into New Year's Day, following a fireworks show near Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium. (Herve Sevi/AFP/Getty Images)
The two survivors, who are hospitalized at Cocody Hospital, said Wednesday that after the fireworks they were prevented from moving along the Boulevard de la Republic by wooden barricades. Newspapers in Ivory Coast have speculated that the roadblocks were set up so pickpockets could steal money and mobile phones.

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, who declared three days of national mourning starting Wednesday, has ordered an immediate investigation into the causes of the stampede. He said the government would open a crisis center to help families find missing people and to take testimony from witnesses.

SOURCE: The Associated Press
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