At least 12 dead in Madagascar stadium stampede

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At least 12 people have died in a crush at a stadium in Madagascar as sports fans gather for the opening ceremony of the Indian Ocean Island Games.

Reports on Friday said Prime Minister Christian Ntsay announced the deaths. He said about 80 other people had been injured, 11 of them critically.

Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina was at the ceremony at Mahamasina Stadium in the capital, Antananarivo, and asked the crowd to observe a few moments of silence for the dead, the reports said.

The stadium, which is built to hold 41,000 people, has been the site of deadly crushes before.

One person died and at least 37 were injured in a crush ahead of a qualifying game for the African Cup of Nations soccer tournament between Madagascar and Senegal in 2018.

In 2019, at least 15 people died in a stampede at a music concert at the stadium.

The Indian Ocean Island Games is a multi-sports event featuring nations from the region. Athletes from Comoros, Maldives, Mautirtius, Mayotte, Reunion and Seychelles also compete at the games.