LUSAKA, Zambia — At least 15 soccer fans were crushed to death and 52 others injured during a stampede after Zambia's victory over Sudan in a World Cup qualifying game Sunday, police and witnesses said.
At least six fans died on the spot when several thousand fans rushed from Lusaka's Independence Stadium to catch a glimpse of their victorious team, police inspector General Francis Ndlovu said.
Ndlovu visited victims at the main Lusaka hospital, where officials said emergency services reported 15 dead and 52 injured, with more casualties feared.
Witnesses said most of the capacity crowd of 40,000 had tried to flee the stadium when panic broke out at one of its five main gates. A technician from the state television service, who refused to give his name, said a bomb scare may have set off the panic.
Other exits had been closed by stadium staff, and the crowd pushed toward the open gate in hopes of seeing the teams leaving the stadium.
Some of the fans were crushed against a wall, which collapsed on them.
Zambia won the game, 3-0, amid heavy security imposed after three recent sabotage bombings against government targets. Fans had been frisked for weapons and explosives by paramilitary police as they arrived for the match.
In 1993, 18 top Zambian soccer players were killed in a plane crash on their way to a World Cup qualifying game in the West African nation of Senegal.
Their bodies are buried in a memorial shrine outside the Lusaka stadium.