A stampede left eleven people dead at the biggest stadium in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's capital during Africa's star Fally Ipupa's concert on Saturday evening.
The country's Interior Minister, Daniel Aselo Okito, released a statement on Sunday blaming the organisers. The deaths comprised nine music lovers and two police officers at the Martyrs' stadium concert in Kinshasa.
The Minister said the stadium "went beyond 100% capacity" of 80,000 as the crowd forced their way into the reserved and VIP sections.
He condemned the frequent "loss of human life and damage to equipment" during such events and said the organisers "must be punished".
A policeman on the scene also confirmed the incident to the official Congolese Press Agency ACP, saying, "It was a stampede" that caused the deaths.
ACP stated the police had cordoned off three areas – the VIP stand, the pitch and the stage – but added, "Under the pressure of the crowd, the police could not hold out long."
The 44-year-old singer-songwriter says he heard the news about the deaths on Sunday morning after waking up from his performance.
"It pains me. I am from Kinshasa and of course, I share in the grief of the families," said Fally Ipupa.
Taking to Facebook, Ipupa wrote, “Following what we accomplished together yesterday, I had planned for today to send a message of joy and satisfaction beyond the evils our dear country is going through. Unfortunately, despite all the arrangements made for strict compliance with safety instructions, some unfortunate and dramatic incidents enameled the end of the concert.
“Indeed, it appears from the elements at our disposal that following some scuffle at the exit and around the stadium, compatriots were snatched alive. I am deeply disturbed and my deepest condolences to all the families. May God in his deepest mercy comfort the bereaved hearts.”
In 2020, French police evacuated the Gare de Lyon railway station in Paris after people started fires nearby in unrest before a planned Fally Ipupa concert.