Bamako: A stampede in a Mali stadium at the end of a sermon by a renowned imam killed at least 36 people on Monday night, an official at the interior and civil protection ministry said.
The stampede occurred as the crowd swarmed to get close to imam Osman Madani Haidara as he delivered blessings on a Muslim holiday in the packed 25,000-seat Modibo Keita stadium in the capital Bamako.
The majority of the victims were women who waited in the front of the crowd hoping to be touched by the religious leader and receive healing and protection, a source said. Another 70 people were injured.
Civil protection services quickly arrived on the scene and were backed up by emergency services from Keita, 15 kilometres from the capital. The wounded were mostly taken to the Bamako`s main hospital.
Last year 26 people died in a stampede at a famed mosque in the north-western city of Timbuktu during the festival, which marks the birthday of Prophet Mohammed.
Officials said that accident on February 26 occurred due to a bottleneck caused by renovation work on the 14th-century mosque made largely from mud.