A stampede of sports fans trying to enter Madagascar’s national stadium for the opening ceremony of the Indian Ocean Island Games has killed at least 12 and left around 80 injured, the country’s prime minister has said.
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 at the 41,000 capacity Mahamasina stadium.
“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.
At least 15 people were killed in a similar incident during a music concert at the stadium in 2019, and in 2018 one person died and at least 37 were injured in a crush ahead of a qualifying football match for the African Cup of Nations between Madagascar and Senegal in 2018.
The Indian Ocean Island Games were created by the International Olympic Committee in 1977, and include athletes from Mauritius, Seychelles, Comoros, Madagascar, Mayotte, Reunion and the Maldives.