Seventeen children among the 125 dead in Indonesian soccer stampede

Residents and supporters of Arema Malang FC light candles and pray together at Gajayana Stadium, Malang, East Java, Indonesia on October 2, 2022. Seventeen children were among at least 125 people who died in a stampede in soccer in Indonesia over the weekend, according to authorities. he said, as pressure mounts on the Southeast Asian nation to explain how one of the world’s worst stadium disasters unfolded.

Suryanto | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Seventeen children were among at least 125 people killed in a soccer stampede in Indonesia at the weekend, officials said, as pressure mounts on the Southeast Asian nation to explain how one of its worst disasters unfolded of stadiums in the world.

Violence and hooliganism have long been a feature of Indonesian football, especially in places like Jakarta, the capital, but Saturday’s disaster in a small town in Java has highlighted the problem.

“My family and I didn’t think it would turn out like this,” said Endah Wahyuni, the older sister of two boys, Ahmad Cahyo, 15, and Muhammad Farel, 14, who died after being caught in the melee to body

“They loved football, but they never saw Arema live at Kanjuruhan Stadium, this was their first time,” he added at his brothers’ funeral on Sunday, referring to the local team they supported.

The children were among the 17 children killed, state news agency Antara said, citing figures from the women’s empowerment and child protection ministry.

“Seventeen children died and seven were treated, but there is a possibility that it may increase,” said Nahar, a ministry official.

Indonesia’s Koran Tempo newspaper published a black front page on Monday, centered on the words “Our football tragedy”, printed in red along with a list of the dead.

Saturday’s deadly crush occurred as panicked spectators tried to escape the packed stadium after police fired tear gas to disperse fans of the losing home team who ran onto the pitch in end of the match

Home side Arema FC had lost the match 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya, although authorities had said no tickets were issued to Persebaya fans due to security concerns.

The incident was a “dark day for all involved,” said FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, which has asked Indonesian soccer authorities for a report on the incident.

Its security rules say firearms or “crowd control gas” must be used at matches.

Police and sports officials have been sent to the city of Malang to investigate an incident that is among the world’s deadliest stadium disasters.

“All those responsible should be held accountable for this disaster, regardless of their status or position,” Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at New York-based Human Rights Watch, said on Monday.

“It is not enough for the national police and the Indonesian Football Association to conduct their own investigation because they may be tempted to minimize or undermine the full responsibility of the officials involved,” he added in a statement.

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