Indonesian leader orders probe into deadly stampede

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (C), accompanied by then TNI chief General Gatot Nurmantyo (R) during the inauguration of an Indonesian army military exercise in Baturaja, southern Sumatra island in 2016. Photo: AFP/Presidential Palace/Rusman. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

JAKARTA, Oct 3, 2022, Xinhua. Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Sunday ordered a police investigation into a sporting stadium stampede that killed 125 people after a soccer match. “I also ordered the police to fully evaluate the security procedures” for soccer matches, the president told a news conference, Xinhua reported.

He also instructed the nation’s soccer association, the PSSI, to temporarily halt all soccer matches in the Southeast Asian country until the related investigation is completed.

PSSI Secretary-General Yunus Nusi said that international soccer governing body FIFA had requested a report on the deadly incident and a PSSI team had been sent to the site to investigate.

Two police officers were among those who were killed in the incident. The tragedy, one of the world’s deadliest sporting stadium disasters, occurred on Saturday night at the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang of Indonesia’s East Java Province, right after Arema Malang club lost to Persebaya Surabaya in an Indonesian league soccer match.

Local media reported that supporters of the losing home team climbed over the fence and entered the pitch, resulting in clashes with the police and a stampede.

Reports said the riot police fired tear gas at people, which caused panic among crowds. People rushed to leave the stadium, leading to the stampede at an exit gate.

Some suffocated and others were trampled as hundreds of people ran to the exit in an effort to avoid the tear gas. In the chaos, 34 died at the stadium and some reports include children among the casualties.

“We have already done a preventive action before finally firing the tear gas as (fans) began to attack the police, acting anarchically and burning vehicles,” East Java Police chief Nico Afinta said at a news conference early on Sunday.

He said the death toll is likely to increase because many of the approximately 330 injured who are in intensive care at various hospitals were deteriorating.

Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud MD said on his official social media account that there were no clashes between supporters of the rival teams in the match, because supporters of Persebaya, the winning team, had not been allowed to watch the match at the stadium.

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