|Cote d'Ivoire's President Alassane Ouattara (2nd L) visits a child injured in a stampede at a hospital in Abidjan on Jan. 1, 2013. More than 200 casualties including at least 60 deaths were caused in a stampede on New Year's Eve in Abidjan, the economic capital of Cote d'Ivoire, public television RTI reported on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Wu Changrong)
ABIDJAN, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- The Cote d'Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara on Tuesday called for a "speedy" inquiry into the stampede that left at least 61 people dead and over 200 others injured after a New Year's Eve fireworks display in Abidjan.
In a statement from the presidency that was released after his visit to the victims at the Cocody University Hospital Center (CHU) in Abidjan, Ouattara affirmed that an investigation should be launched immediately to determine the circumstances under which the tragedy occurred.
He ordered that the government should proceed and take care of the victims. He also declared a three days national mourning period that will begin on Wednesday, Jan.2, 2013.
The traditional ceremony of delivering New Year messages of goodwill to the president which had been scheduled to take place on Thursday and Friday at the presidential palace "has also been postponed to a later date."
On the Eve of the New Year, a huge fireworks display festival had been organized in Abidjan's administrative district of Plateau, as a culmination of a project to "light up the streets of Abidjan. "
The spectators who had come in large numbers were returning to their homes after the event, when a tragedy occurred at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium.
Cote d'Ivoire's Interior Minister Hamed Bakayoko said that over 50,000 people had gathered to admire the fireworks display in the Plateau district.
Among the victims included a number of adolescents whose age was varying between 10 to 15 years.