Malawi fans stampede kills eight

Police

Eight people, including seven children, have died in Malawi in a stampede ahead of a football match, police say.

Dozens are reported to have sustained serious injuries in the crush that happened at Lilongwe’s Bingu national stadium.

The stampede is said to have been caused by a rush that began as thousands tried to find seats ahead of a friendly match between top sides Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers.

Malawian President Peter Mutharika has already sent his condolences and pledged that his government will do all it can to assist the families of the bereaved.

BBC news agency reports that gates at the 40,000-capacity stadium were supposed to open at 06:30 local time (04:30GMT) to allow free entry of people – but there was a delay of about three hours.

Thousands of people had however already turned up, and being unable to wait any longer, forced their way in.

Inspector General of Police Lexan Kachama told Reuters news agency he expected the number of casualties to rise.

The football match was being held as part of events to mark the 53rd anniversary of Malawi’s independence from British colonial rule.