At least 41 people were killed and more than 50 injured — most of them schoolchildren and teenagers — in a stampede Tuesday during a pre-election campaign rally for Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the southern province of Ibb, medical and security officials said.
The stampede occurred in a small stadium in Ibb, 119 miles south of the capital San`a, where Saleh was addressing a group of people. Many of the ralliers, who were packed into the stadium, were seen carrying banners and posters with pictures of Saleh on them.
Officials in the Thawra Hospital in the city said 20 bodies were brought there. In the Al-Nasser hospital, officials revised their death toll to 21 from 12, after some of the people taken there died from their injuries.
Some of the injured were in serious condition, the medical officials in Ibb said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. Five of the injured were treated and released.
Overcrowding and a lack of clearly marked exit signs contributed to the stampede, after people leaving the stadium ran into other people entering the stadium, the officials said.
President Saleh offered condolences to the families of the victims, as did opposition groups, who called for a full-scale investigation and urged the government to punish those responsible for the tragedy.
The teenagers and schoolchildren had been bused to the stadium by government authorities to attend the rally.
The election is scheduled for Sept. 20.