Four lives were lost and several others injured yesterday during the Mashujaa Day Celebrations at Kericho Green Stadium. The Ministry of Interior has launched a thorough investigation into the tragic stampede, which occurred at the break of dawn, shaking the spirit of the commemorative event.
The tragic incident left four women dead and approximately 10 people injured, including six police officers and four civilians, according to a statement released by the Ministry, headed by Prof. Kithure Kindiki.
The stampede unfolded at 3 a.m. when patriotic Kenyans sought to enter the stadium, eager to partake in the 60th Mashujaa Day Celebrations.
“The ministry is deeply saddened by the stampede incident that happened earlier today when patriotic Kenyans tried to access the Kericho Green Stadium, to commemorate the 60th Mashujaa Day Celebrations,” read the statement. “We appeal to the public for their cooperation and calm as we work to determine the circumstances that led to this tragic event and ensure the necessary measures are taken to prevent such incidents in the future.”
The injured individuals, fortunately, are now in stable condition and are receiving treatment at the Kericho County Referral Hospital. Doctors have confirmed the sad news of four fatalities, all females, while the bodies have been preserved in the hospital’s morgue pending identification and postmortem examinations.
The police, in their statement issued on Friday, revealed that the stampede occurred just hours before the stadium gates were set to open.
It was caused by a tea vendor located outside the stadium who accidentally spilled hot tea into an open fire near gate ‘C along the public road. The ensuing smoke, mistaken for teargas, caused a panic among the gathering crowd.
“The stampede was caused by a lady who was selling tea outside the stadium, who accidentally spilt hot tea in the fire near gate ‘C along the public road. As a result, members of the public panicked and mistook it to be teargas thrown at them,” explained the police.
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The Ministry of Interior has pledged a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the incident to determine the exact sequence of events and whether any lapses in security and crowd control contributed to this tragedy.