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Indonesia to investigate football stampede: live updates

Credit…Mast Irham/EPA, via Shutterstock

MALANG, Indonesia — An Indonesian human rights official said only two exits were open at the Kanjuruhan stadium, where police fired tear gas into stands housing thousands of people, adding that the use of tear gas appeared to play a role. a key role in agglomeration. of fleeing people who killed up to 125.

Mohammad Choirul Anam, a member of the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission, said his organization would investigate the disaster and the role of the police. Police have said that fans attacked the officers and that the use of force was necessary. The government appointed a independent commission to investigate Monday’s deaths.

“According to the videos that have circulated, there were violent actions,” Anam said. “Not only the use of tear gas, but there was also the use of force. We want to investigate why that happened.”

He said an initial examination suggested tear gas played a role in the disaster. If it hadn’t been used, “there’s a chance there wouldn’t be a stampede.”

Human rights investigators will also look at the design of the stadium where the victims were found and what kind of injuries they had, Anam said.

The disaster came after a match in which Arema Football Club lost to Persebaya Surabaya for the first time in more than 20 years.

The president of the Arema apologized this Monday for the catastrophe.

“Honestly, we are very shocked, we are devastated,” club president Gilang Widya Pramana said, his throat tight as his eyes filled with tears. “We are speechless as to how it could have reached so many victims.”

Mr Pramana said he apologized to the victims and their families, the football league, the police, the Indonesian people and the country’s President Joko Widodo. He said the club intended to pay compensation to the victims and their families.

He described Saturday’s carnage as unexpected, noting that there were no away fans in the stadium to clash with Arema’s supporters. After Arema lost on Saturday, some home team fans rushed onto the field. Police fired tear gas and hit fans with batons, witnesses said, herding them into narrow exit corridors where they smashed into each other.

“They are good supporters,” said Mr. Pramana. “But that night, I never expected this to happen.”

Sudarmaji, a spokesman for Arema, denied reports that tickets for the match had been oversold, increasing the security risk at the stadium. Mr. Sudarmaji, who uses only one name, refused to answer questions about witness statements that the exits were closed as the crowd tried to escape the tear gas.

Mr. Pramana said that many of Arema’s players helped the injured and that his dressing room was later used to store the bodies of those who died. “They are very shocked and sad,” he added.

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