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At least 8 dead, several hurt in Cameroon after stampede during major soccer tournament

Jan. 25 (UPI) -- A rush of fans outside of the Africa Cup of Nations soccer tournament in Cameroon on Tuesday has killed at least eight people and sent several others to the hospital with serious injuries, officials said.

The stampede occurred on Monday night at the Olembe Stadium in the capital of Yaounde during a match between Cameroon and Comoros in Africa's most prestigious soccer tournament.

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Authorities said that dozens of other people were also injured in the stampede, but most were not serious. Rene Emmanuel Sadi, a spokesperson for the Cameroon government, said that at least seven fans are in the hospital with serious injuries.

The initial death toll was six, but officials said it rose by two on Tuesday when a couple of additional injured fans died at a nearby hospital.

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Before Monday's game, fans were seen rushing through the gates and climbing fences to get into the stadium. Some videos posted online showed injured fans receiving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. One news report said that a child was among the dead.

"Some of the injured are in desperate condition," nurse Olinga Prudence told Cameroon Online, saying that they would have to be evacuated to a "specialized hospital."

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Officials said the stampede may have been partly caused by fans who were trying to evade COVID-19 testing, which is a requirement to enter the stadium.

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The Africa Cup of Nations is held every two years in odd-numbered years to avoid conflicting with the World Cup. The 2021 tournament, hosted by Cameroon, was originally scheduled for June and July of 2021 but was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. It began on Jan. 9 and runs through Feb. 6.

The Cameroon team defeated Comoros 2-1 on Monday and advanced to the quarterfinals to face Gambia. Cameroon has won the Africa Cup of Nations five times, most recently in 2017. The 2023 tournament will be hosted by the Ivory Coast, which is also on Africa's western coastline.

Cameroon is located in central Africa on the western coast. It borders Nigeria to the south, Chad and the Central African Republic to the west and Congo and Gabon to the north.

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