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‘We Haven’t Learnt Anything From May 9th Disaster’- Charles Taylor Bemoans

Prolific Ghanaian winger, Bismarck Asampong better known as Charles Taylor has lamented that Ghana has not learnt any lessons from the May 9th disaster.

127 Ghanian football fans died in a stampede caused by the firing of teargas by police following a decision by the referee in a crucial match between arch-rivals Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko.

In an interview with Joe Laka on Kessben sports, the former Hearts and Kotoko winger said, ” I decided not to discuss about this May 9th issue again, because we talk about it every time but we still do the same thing..”

” So its very difficult for one to even mention it. If you are human, born by a woman, anytime you go to the stadium you must be careful…”

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” I am sure those who died on that day, some may have children and some may be the breadwinner of their homes but because of the game, they no longer exist,” the former Ghana Premier League top scorer added.

The tragedy

Ghana’s two most successful football teams played that day, the Accra Hearts of Oak Sporting Club and the Asante Kotoko Sporting Club,. Officials were anticipating crowd disturbances, and had taken extra security measures. With less than 15 minutes to go in the game, two goals in quick succession put Hearts 2-1 ahead. Angry Asante Kotoko fans ripped up plastic chairs and hurled them on to the pitch.

The police responded by firing tear gas into the crowd. Panic and a stampede ensued as fans tried to escape. Gates were locked and the stadium’s compromised design left a bottleneck, with fewer exits than originally planned. Ghana Institute of Architects called the stadium a “death trap.” After the hour-long ordeal, it was found that 116 deaths resulted from compressive asphyxia and 10 fans died from trauma.

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A fan, Abdul Mohammed, had passed out from the tear gas and moved to a morgue, thought to be dead. He became conscious after someone stepped on his foot, narrowly missing a burial.

Reports claim that medical staff had already left the stadium, as the incident happened near the end of the match. Some gates were locked, preventing escape.

By: Charles Baba/www.ghanaarticles.com

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