Nine die in Uganda New Year’s stampede in shopping mall

Kampala, Uganda – At least nine people including a 10-year-old boy suffocated to death 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 on Sunday, police said.

People started pushing through a passage in the Freedom City Mall just after the clocks struck midnight, the police said.

“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,” a police statement read.

People had been celebrating the new year at the mall, which is on a highway linking Kampala to Entebbe airport.

After fireworks outside the mall in Kampala, “a stampede ensued, resulting in the instant deaths of five people and injuries to several others”, police spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire said.

“Emergency responders arrived on the scene and transported the injured individuals to the hospital, where nine were confirmed dead.”

Owoyesigyire said “juveniles” were among the victims.

He said “rash” acts and “negligence” had led to the tragedy.

The celebrations to welcome in 2023 were the first in the east African country in three years, after restrictions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic and security issues.

Agence France-Presse