At the least 32 kids died in tragedy with 125 useless at Indonesia stadium
The tragedy in the eastern city of Malang is the second-worst stadium record in the world, after the 1964 Peru-Argentina game in Lima in 1964.
At least 32 children died in the riot in an Indonesian stadium, in which 125 people died, an official from the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection told AFP.
“According to the latest information we have received, of the 125 people who died in the accident, 32 were children, with the youngest being a boy of three or four years old,” said Nahar, who like many Indonesians has only one name.
The confrontation took place in the game between Arema and Persebaya, at Kanjuruhan Stadium, in the city of Malang. There are still about 180 people hospitalized. After the battle on the field, the national league suspended games.
The tragedy in the eastern city of Malang is the second worst in registered stadiums in the world, after the one that occurred in the game between Peru and Argentina, in Lima, in 1964. In the case of India, the fans of Arema FC invaded the lawn of the Karnjurhan Stadium after the team lost 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya, the first defeat for their arch-rivals in more than two decades. Police tried to contain the fans and get them back to the stands, firing tear gas after two police officers were killed.
Many of the victims were trampled to death or suffocated, officials said. The deputy governor of the province of East Java, Emil Dardak, informed the television network Kompas TV that the toll is 174 dead. Several survivors described how panicked onlookers swarmed when tear gas was fired at them.
“The police fired tear gas, and automatically people ran to get out, pushing each other, and that caused a lot of casualties,” Doni, a 43-year-old bystander who declined to reveal his last name, told AFP. “Nothing was happening, there was no riot. I don’t know what the reason was, suddenly they shot tear gas at us. It shocked me, didn’t they think there were children and women?
A hospital director told local television that a five-year-old boy was among the victims. Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Sunday ordered a review of security in stadiums after the tragedy. In a televised message, Widodo ordered the Minister of Sport and Youth, the national police and the local football association “to carry out a thorough assessment of football matches and security procedures”.
Footage captured inside the stadium during the stampede showed large amounts of tear gas and people climbing fences. Some of them carried injured spectators through the chaos.
Other images posted on social media show people shouting obscenities at police officers, who were shielding themselves with shields. The stadium has a capacity for 42,000 people and, according to the authorities, was full. Police indicated that about 3,000 people had invaded the camp.
– I would like to emphasize that […] not all participants had anarchic behavior. Only about 3,000 entered the field,” said East Java province police chief Nico Afinta.
Burnt vehicles, including a police truck, remained outside the stadium on Sunday morning. Indonesian Sports and Youth Minister Zainudin Amali apologized for the incident and promised to investigate the circumstances of the stampede.
— We regret this incident […]. It’s a regrettable incident that damages our football at a time when fans can go to the stadium to watch games,” he told the Kompas network. — We rigorously evaluated the organization of the match and the presence of fans. Are we going to ban the presence of fans at matches again? That’s what we’ll discuss.
The Football Federation of Indonesia (PSSI) has suspended football matches for a week, banned Arema FC from hosting home matches for the rest of the season and announced that it will send an investigation team to Malang to determine the causes of the tragedy.
“We regret and apologize to the victims’ families and all parties for the incident,” said PSSI President Mochamad Iriawan.
Likewise, the president of the Asian Football Confederation, Salman bin Ibrahim al Khalifa, said he was “deeply moved and saddened to hear such tragic news from Indonesia, a country that loves football”. Indonesia plans to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup in May in six stadiums across the country. Malang’s is not included in the tournament.
Fan violence is a problem in Indonesia, where rivalries have sparked several deadly clashes. Some games get so tense that players from big teams have to travel to games under heavy guard.
Source: O Globo Agency