By Enyichukwu Enemanna
No fewer than 37 applicants seeking recruitment into the army in Congo-Brazzaville have been feared dead in a stadium during application submission exercise, authorities have announced.
The government had last week disclosed plans to recruit about 1,500 people between the ages of 18 and 25 in the African country battling burgeoning unemployment rate.
According to residents, some applicants made attempt to force their way through stadium’s gates in the capital, Brazzaville, causing the stampede.
According to a government source, several others were injured but did not disclose the actual figure, saying a “crisis unit” has been set up, AFP news agency reports.
According to an AP report, at least 700 persons submitted applications each day since the recruitment notice was made public.
Youth unemployment is at around 42% in Congo-Brazzaville, with many young people seeing the army one of the few places where they can secure a job, BBC reports.
Details of what exactly happened at Michel d’Ornano stadium are sketchy but thousands of young applicants had reportedly gathered outside the stadium on Monday.
Local sources have told the BBC the registration process was to open on Tuesday morning.
Brandon Tsetou, a graduate who survived the crush, said he had queued since early on Monday.
“According to the organisers, it was to be the last day. That’s why many of us decided to wait until late into the night, hoping to register,” he told AP.
“Some were so impatient that they had to force their way in, causing a stampede that left a number of people dead or injured, which we deplore.”
Credit Gist New Today News in Newspaper Nigeria Headlines