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DRC: one dead and 11 injured in a stadium explosion in Goma

DRC: one dead and 11 injured in a stadium explosion in Goma
Soldiers escorting the six soldiers, charged with crimes against humanity and of violating orders, military court in Goma, eastern DRC, September 6, 2023.   -  
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ALEXIS HUGUET/AFP or licensors

Democratic Republic Of Congo

A rocket accidentally exploded on Thursday in a stadium in the city of Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, killing at least one person and wounding eleven, according to the authorities.

At around 4:00 pm (14:00 GMT), an "RPG-7" rocket launcher belonging to a Congolese soldier "inadvertently dropped" its ammunition, which "fell at the Unité stadium", wounding 12 people, one of whom "has just succumbed to his injuries", Lieutenant-Colonel Guillaume Ndjike, spokesman for the governor of North Kivu province, said in a statement.

The shot is said to have been fired while the soldier was in a vehicle on the outskirts of the stadium, which "leapt onto the road", in the words of the spokesman.

As the Goal team's young footballers were training on this pitch in downtown Goma, "there was an explosion and players started coming out with injuries", Prince Mumbere, a local resident who was at the stadium entrance at the time of the blast, told AFP.

Photos shared on social networks showed injured footballers and a young man covered in blood being evacuated from the stadium on foot and on motorcycle cabs.

From September 8 to 10, the Stade de l'Unité had hosted a soccer tournament where scouts from European clubs, including AS Monaco, had come to scout young talent.

The stadium is located some thirty kilometers from the front line separating the Congolese army from the M23 rebellion, which, with the support of the Rwandan army, has seized large swathes of North Kivu since mid-2022.

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