The end of a concert given by singer Abdelaziz Stati, at the Mawazine Festival in Rabat, was marked by a stampede that killed eight people and wounded some forty others. Some observers have criticized the incompetence of the Moroccan police present at the time of the incidence. For now, though, circumstances surrounding the tragic incident remain murky.
Tragedy struck Saturday night in Rabat, the Moroccan capital, when eleven people – including two children – died in a stampede that occurred at the end of a concert at Hay Nahda. About forty others were injured.
One of those inured injured, interviewed by a Spanish radio, indicated that there were not enough police officers at the concert grounds and that only one exit was open instead of two. The Interior Ministry has, meanwhile, declared that there is an ongoing investigation to determine the cause of the tragic stampede. The Wali of the region of Rabat, Hassan Amrani, has insisted that the accident was not caused by a lapse in security. At a press conference Sunday, Adil Ghazouli, Regional chief for Civil Protection, said some 500 agents from security companies, 5 units of Auxiliary Forces, 300 police officers, 60 civil protection officers… were charged with ensuring security throughout the festival period.
“Most of those injured are young”
Seventy thousand spectators were present at Moroccan singer, Abdelaziz Stati’s show. At the end of the concert, shortly after midnight, a group of individuals who tried jumping over a metalic fence, brought the whole structure down under their weight, causing panic among spectators.
Following the scuffle, five women, four men and two children died of asphyxiation. Victims have so far been sent to the Ibn Sina hospital in Rabat, the largest in the city. According to the AFP, Dr Abdelatif Benchekroun, the head of the emergency department, has confirmed that “most of the injured are young”.
Abdelaziz Stati and Aziz Seghrouchni, Deputy Chairman of “Maroc cultures”, the organizer of the Mawazine Festival, have presented their condolences to the families of victims. According to the organization, this is the very first time such a tragedy has occured. Nevertheless, the incident would further tarnish the image of the festival, which has been harshly criticized by part of the Moroccan population who want the government to redirect the huge budget towards job creation.