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174 football fans dead, 180 injured, as riot, stampede breaks out at Indonesian stadium

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Not less than 174 fans were killed and 180 injured when a riot broke out in Indonesia during a league football match at the East Java stadium which led to a stampede, government officials said on Sunday, describing the incident as one of the world’s worst stadium disasters this century.

According to East Java police chief Nico Afinta, the riot broke out when “frustrated supporters of the losing home team invaded the pitch in Malang in the province, leading to security officers firing tear gas in an attempt to control the situation, triggering the stampede and cases of suffocation.”

“It had gotten anarchic. They started attacking officers, they damaged cars. Much of the crush occurred when fans fled for an exit gate,” Nico said.

Local media reports that the riot was triggered when fans of the home team Arema FC, which was losing 3-2 to their visitors, Persebaya Surabaya FC, invaded the pitch and began attacking match officials and players of the opposing team.

After struggling unsuccessfully to control the crowd, security officials resorted to firing teargas to disperse the crowd.

The head of one of the hospitals in the area treating patients said some of the victims had sustained brain injuries and that the fatalities included a five-year-old child.

Read also: WORLD CUP: LGBT football fans raise fears about anti-gay chants, attacks

Reacting to the tragedy, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said authorities must thoroughly evaluate security at matches, adding that he hoped this would be “the last soccer tragedy in the nation.”

Widodo ordered the Football Association of Indonesia to suspend all games in the Indonesian top league BRI Liga 1 until an investigation had been completed.

The Malang stadium disaster is the second deadliest since 1964, when 328 people died during a riot when Peru hosted Argentine at the Estadio Nacional.

Indonesia which is scheduled to host the FIFA under-20 World Cup in May and June next year will now come under serious scrutiny as world’s football governing body, FIFA, has sent a team to Malang to investigate the incident.

174 football fans dead, 180 as riot, stampede breaks out at Indonesian stadium

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