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Africa

Deadly stampede at tribute concert in Democratic Republic of Congo

At least 14 people have been killed in a stampede at a tribute concert in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A power failure is reported to have caused the crowds to panic.

Power generators are reported to have cut out during the concert in the town of Kikwit, around 500 km (300 miles) from the capital Kinshasa, during the early hours of Friday, plunging the stadium into darkness.

Kikwit is the hometown of late Congolese singer King Kester Emeneya, who died in Paris in February, aged 57. The singer's funeral was held in Kinshasa the following month.

The music festival was scheduled to last until Sunday, but the Bandundu provincial government announced the rest of the program would be canceled.

In a statement, the authorities said several people were killed in the crush, which was "due to the infatuation of the public, who came in large numbers to watch events marking the first edition of the festival."

"Around 2 a.m. (0100 GMT) there was a blackout in the stadium", local government spokesman and festival organiser Claude Malela confirmed.

"When people tried to leave there was a crush. We have counted 14 dead and 13 injured," he continued.

An investigation has been launched into the cause of the power outage.

lw/kms (Reuters, AP, AFP)