A day of national mourning decreed by the Congolese authorities was observed on Wednesday in the Republic of Congo, in memory of 31 young people who died in a stampede on Monday evening in Brazzaville during an army recruitment operation.
The flags are at half mast in the capital, in front of public administrations and schools.
Bars and other entertainment venues also observed the national mourning. In the city, however, road traffic was normal.
On Tuesday evening, Congolese government spokesperson Thierry Moungalla announced that 31 people had died and 145 others had been injured in the stampede that occurred overnight from Monday to Tuesday in the Michel d’Ornano stadium in Brazzaville.
According to agents responsible for securing the site, there were several thousand young candidates for recruitment. Some forced the gate, others jumped over a wall.
Mr. Moungalla, who is also Minister of Communication, said recruitment operations within the Congolese army were launched on November 14, and young people massively responded to the call of duty by wanting to serve under the flag.
In addition to the judicial investigation opened by the public prosecutor, a “mixed administrative investigation—police-Congolese armed forces—has been opened. It will have to determine the causes of the tragedy and render its conclusions in the next few days” as indicated elsewhere by Mr. Moungalla.
Congolese human rights organizations and opposition political representatives have pointed the finger at the government’s responsibility in this tragedy.
On Tuesday, the organization “Debout pour le Congo” (DPC) called on the government to put in place a “plan to combat mass youth unemployment”.
Congo, a small country in Central Africa, has 5.7 million inhabitants, 47% of whom are under the age of 18, according to the 2022 World Bank report.
In this oil-rich country led by Denis Sassou Nguesso, 79 years old, 39 of whom have been heads of state, “42% of young people are unemployed”, according to the DPC, citing a World Bank report.

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