Seventeen children were among at least 125 people killed in a soccer stampede in Indonesia at the weekend, officials said, as pressure builds on the Southeast Asian nation to explain how one of the world’s worst stadium disasters unfolded.
Violence and hooliganism have long been features of Indonesian football, especially in places such as Jakarta, the capital, but Saturday’s disaster in a small town in Java has thrown a spotlight on the problem
“My family and I didn’t think it would turn out like this,” said Endah Wahyuni, the elder sister of two boys, Ahmad Cahyo, 15, and Muhammad Farel, 14, who died after being caught in the melee.
“They loved soccer, but never watched Arema live at Kanjuruhan stadium, this was their first time,” she added at her brothers’ funeral on Sunday, referring to the home side they backed.
Indonesia’s chief security minister Mahfud MD said on Monday the government would form an independent fact-finding team which would include academics and soccer experts as well as government officials to probe what happened.
The team will investigate for the next few weeks with the aim of finding who was responsible for the tragedy, he said.
Indonesian daily Koran Tempo ran a black front page on Monday, centred on the words “Our Football Tragedy”, printed in red along with a list of the dead.
Seventeen children were among the dead, with seven others being treated in hospital said Nahar, an official at the women’s empowerment ministry.