Freedom City New Year Stampede: Police Arrest Abitex for Closing Alternative Exits 

Police have arrested Abby Musinguzi alias Abitex, the promoter of the New Year Eve bash at Freedom City Hall in Kampala where ten people died in a stampede. 

The law enforcement body said the “organizers put profits before the safety of revelers and concert goers, by using only one gate on the assumption that other non-ticketed persons would take advantage and gain entry.”

According to Police, the celebrations were progressing well, “till that point where the Master of Ceremonies, recklessly made an announcement for the concert goers to move out and watch the fireworks display in the parking lot and thereafter return to the concert.”

“The parked crowd of about 400 people became dangerous, after the rush for fireworks from the hall, through a narrow corridor, to the only exit/entry point, after the local security guards had locked all the other gates. As a result, Several victims were trapped, others trampled upon through the narrow passageway which became a real bottleneck.”

Abby Musinguzi of Abitex, an events promotions company, is yet to speak out on the development. 

The deceased included children below the age of 18, a revelation that has unsettled the country.

“We are also investigating circumstances under which young children between 10 – 17 years, gained entry into the venue,” said Police.

“Usually, concerts and festivals require the concert goers to be 18 years and above, because they can legally make their own decisions. Juveniles between 13 -17 can only attend, if accompanied by an adult or responsible person.”

Ugandans have tasked police to explain how they approved the poor event plan and even offered cops to manage its security.

The premises were physically inspected by counter-terrorism officers for fireworks and the territorial police of Katwe for the concert. 

Police said the organizers and their private security were in charge of the inner security, while the external security and perimeter was manned by the police and other security personnel, due to the existing threat environment.

The incident underscores the need for event organizers to pay more attention to crowd control much as stampedes are rare occurrences in Uganda. 

Police said a thorough investigation by specialist teams from CID, Forensic, Counter Terrorism and Crime Intelligence continues to take place. 

“Our areas of interest are the access and exit controls, the safety measures against crowd controls, disorders and stampedes, evacuation plans, paramedics and ambulances on site, number of stewards/ushers dedicated to the event and the number of people at the concert among others. All persons found culpable shall be brought to book.”

Police yesterday said nine people were confirmed dead but updated the death toll today to 10.

The deceased persons include Daniel Kibuuka, 10, of Gangu “B”zone; Daniella Kibuuka, 14, of Gangu “B” zone; Ibrahim Kizito, 11,  of Kyebando, Erisa zone; and Hakimati Nazima, 13, of Kyebando – Erisa zone.

Others are Viola Nakanwagi, 18, of Watuba-Matugga; Mary Namyalo, a 30-year-old hairdresser of Ndejje-Luga zone; Hadijah Nakakande, 16, of Massajja “B” zone; Margret Nakatumba, 29, of Kanyanya; Safik Mwanje and an unidentified juvenile. 

“This is a terrible tragedy and our deepest sympathies go to the families of the deceased persons,” said Police.

The post Freedom City New Year Stampede: Police Arrest Abitex for Closing Alternative Exits  first appeared on ChimpReports.

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