MONROVIA, June 3: Eight people were killed in a stadium crush in Liberia on Sunday after thousands of football fans crowded in to watch a World Cup qualifier match between Liberia and Gambia, officials said on Monday.

Most of the victims were young men who died when crowds of people crushed up against entrance gates that United Nations peacekeepers and police had closed to prevent more people entering already overcrowded stands, officials said.

“Eight persons died. Some of them died while trying to enter the gates. There were scuffles at some of these gates,” Paul Mulbah, a member of the national mobilisation committee for Liberia’s “Lone Stars” national team, said.

A hospital source confirmed eight people were killed.

“They were struggling to enter the field. They did not die in the stadium. The crowd was huge outside the stadium and people walked on each other,” Estella E. Johnson, who was working as a volunteer marshal, said on Monday.

“I saw with my own eyes six bodies. All six of them were young boys in their 20s and 30s. One of them had blood in his nose,” she said.

A ticketing official blamed the overcrowding on touts selling fake tickets for the match.

“We printed 35,000 tickets, which is the capacity of the stadium. We were later told that there were some unscrupulous people who printed fake tickets,” said the official, who declined to be identified.—Reuters

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