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Sunday, May 24, 2009

11 Dead and Dozens injured in Stampede in MOROCCO MUSIC FESTIVAL

At least 11 People are dead and dozens injured after A STAMPEDE at the MAWAZINE (RHYTHMS) FESTIVAL IN MORROCCO. The MOROCCAN CONCERT included performances by international stars such as STEVIE WONDER, KYLIE MINOGUE and others. The brunt of the stampede occurred during a free performance of local favorite ABDELAZIZ STATI which gathered an uncontrollable audience of over 70,000 spectators at the peak of the stampede. The approximate 3,000 uniformed and plain-clothed police officers were unable to control the STAMPEDE IN RABAT.

MOROCCAN POLICE report the stampede came to a head after thousands of spectators surged towards one of the exits bringing down a wire fence and setting off the STAMPEDE IN THE MOROCCO CITY OF RABAT.

Of those who died in the MOROCCO CONCERT STAMPEDE Five were women, four men and two children who apparently suffocated in the crush of the MOROCCO CONCERT STAMPEDE. A source close to the case said all those who died were Moroccan.

Survivors of the MOROCCO CONCERT STAMPEDE were rushed to RABAT's main hospital, Ibn Sina, where a source said all but five of the injured had left by Sunday morning. Head of Hospital carein RABA's Ibn Sina, Abdelatif Benchekroun, reported, "Most of the injured are young,"

Hassan Amrani, the prefect of the Rabat region, said Sunday that eight people -- including three children with various fractures -- remained in intensive care. Their conditon ranged from "between serious and very serious," the director of Ibn Sina hospital Yasser Soufiani said.

A source close to RABAT CITY council said Stati's concert, which was free, had originally been scheduled to be held in Moulay el Hassan Square in central Rabat. But it was switched to the stadium to accommodate the large number of fans, mainly young people, said the source, close to the security services.

Festival organisers, Maroc Cultures, issued a statement which said "its great sorrow" and offered the families and friends of the victems, their "profound and sincere condolences." King Mohammed VI reached out to the families by sending them personal messages of condolence and an offering to pay for the victims' funeral services and for any and all hospital cost.

The Moroccan interior ministry announced there will be an investigation into the RABAT CITY CONCERT STAMPEDE.

The MAWAZINE FESTIVAL was created in 2001 and is one of the most important cultural gatherings held in MOROCCO. In addition to the internationally acclaimed concerts, the MAWAZINE FESTIVAL consists of street shows, an exhibition by Arab artists and children's events. This years' 8th annual MAWAZINE FESTIVAL in RABAT consisted of some 1,700 foreign and local performers and was opened on May 15 by Australian pop icon Kylie Minogue.

Performers at this years' MAWAZINE FESTIVAL IN RABAT included US soul legend Stevie Wonder, Algerian rai singer Khaled, South African singer Johnny Clegg, Brazilian bossa nova artist Sergio Mendes and Italian composer and conductor Ennio Morricone.

The 2008 edition of the MAWAZINE FESTIVAL IN RABAT attracted over 1.2 million spectators to nine venues across the MOROCCAN CITY OF RABAT.

The festival's president, Mounir El Majidi, said in a message posted on the event's website that said the festival aimed to promote tourism and "support Rabat, as a city open to the world." The DEATHS resulting from the STAMPEDE AT THE MAWAZINE FESTIVAL IN RABAT may cause organizers to look a little more seriously at crowd control for any further festivals. Names of those who died as a result of the STAMPEDE at the MAWAZINE MUSIC FESTIVAL IN RABAT MOROCCO have not been released.

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