Friday, June 21, 2024

Congo: Military enlistments suspended after stampede kills prospective recruits

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Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey is an experienced African journalist who has worked with top media brands in Ghana where he is based.

The military in the Republic of Congo has suspended all enlistments exercises after a stampede killed at least 31 prospective recruits.

The late-night stampede occurred at a military stadium where the young people have been waiting for hours to register.

Although the prime minister’s office put the figure at 37, it has emerged that six of the deaths turned occurred somewhere else.

The Congolese Armed Forces Command has announced that all recruitment operations were suspended in the capital, Brazzaville, until further notice.

Adelard Yvon Bonga, director of Brazzaville’s main morgue, told official broadcaster Radio Congo that the death toll stood at 31.

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Suffocations at stadium

Brandon Tsetou, a young graduate who escaped the crush that caused some victims to suffocate, said he joined the line in front of Ornado stadium.

“According to the organizers, it was the last day. That’s why many of us decided to wait until late into the night, hoping to register,” he told The Associated Press.

“Some were so impatient that they had to force their way in, causing a stampede that left a number of people dead or injured, which we deplore.”

Military recruitment exercises have been characterised with long queues as young people aged 18 to 25 seek to join the army. Reports say as many as 700 people a day registered, though there were only a total of 1,500 spots available.

Among the victims was 23-year-old Chancelvie Oko, according to her uncle Germain Ndzale. Oko wanted to join the military to help her support her two children following her husband’s death in a traffic accident two years ago, Ndzale said.

Youth unemployment rate in the oil-rich Africa country is about 42%, according to World Bank statistics. Despite its natural resource endowments, poverty is widespread in the nation of 5.61 million people, with only 15% of those living in rural areas having access to electricity.

Human rights group demand probe

Tresor Nzila, executive director of the nongovernmental organization Action Center for Development, called for a full investigation and for the government to publish a list of victims.

“This human tragedy reflects the distress of a sacrificed youth,” he said. “The Congolese government is incapable of creating other employment. The defense and security forces have become the main job providers.”

Other groups have argued that the government must be held directly responsible for not assessing the risks of its actions.

Eight fans dead in a stampede at AFCON

 

Source: Africafeeds.com

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