At least 78 people have been killed and dozens injured in a stampede in Yemen’s capital, according to Houthi officials and media.
The stampede happened late on Wednesday as hundreds of people crowded into a school in Sanaa in the hope of getting charitable donations being handed out by merchants to mark the final days of Ramadan, the Houthi-controlled Ministry of Interior’s spokesperson said in a statement.Witnesses Abdel-Rahman Ahmed and Yahia Mohsen told the Associated Press news agency that armed Houthis had fired into the air in an attempt at crowd control, apparently hitting an electrical wire, which exploded and caused panic among those waiting.
Video posted on social media showed dozens of bodies on the ground, some motionless and others screaming as people tried to help.
Dozens were injured and taken to nearby hospitals.
Motaher al-Marouni, a senior health official in the capital, gave the death toll and said at least 13 people had been seriously hurt, according to the Houthis’ Al Masirah TV channel.
The Interior Ministry spokesman described the incident as “tragic.”
The Interior Ministry said it had detained the two merchants who organised the event and an investigation was under way.
Sanaa has been under the control of the Houthis since 2014 when they removed the country’s internationally-recognised government.
That led to the intervention of a Saudi-led coalition a year later.