Twelve people have died and about 80 have been injured in a crush as sports fans tried to enter Madagascar’s national stadium for the opening ceremony of the Indian Ocean Island Games, the prime minister said.
Christian Ntsay said 11 of the injured were in a critical condition after the incident on Friday.
Videos shared on social media showed Red Cross workers caring for dozens of injured people next to the athletics track.
It was not immediately clear what caused the crush, but at least 15 people were killed in a similar incident at the Mahamasina stadium in 2019.
The president of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina, told the crowd in the stadium on Friday night: “An unfortunate event happened. There was a stampede at the entrance.
“There were a lot of injuries. We will observe a few seconds of silence because compatriots have died when they wanted to enter.”
After the silence, the ceremony continued with a laser show and fireworks.
The Indian Ocean Island Games were created by the International Olympic Committee in 1977, and feature athletes from Comoros, Madagascar, the Maldives, Mauritius, Mayotte, Réunion and the Seychelles