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General News of Thursday, 7 July 2016

Source: Class FM

MP blames Eid stampede on blocked exit

It has emerged that the Asawase Community Centre – the scene of a stampede on Wednesday July 6, in which nine persons perished – had an emergency exit, which remained under lock because it was sided by kiosks and shops.

The Member of Parliament for the area, Alhaji Mubarak Mohammed Muntaka, made the disclosure on Accra100.5FM in the aftermath of the sad incident.

Some youth of Asawase were holding an event at the venue to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr, the feasting that succeeds Muslims’ fasting in the month of Ramadan, when, according to Alhaji Muntaka, fighting broke out between two groups causing revellers to flee as gunshots were fired.

Speaking to host Chief Jerry Forson on the station’s morning show, Ghana Yensom, Thursday, the MP said the community centre had an emergency exit for people to escape from the building in urgent situations, but had remained locked as the space behind it had been illegally taken over by shop owners.

He described the incident as “very unfortunate”, especially, as he had urged Muslim youth on the same programme about the need for “moderate” celebrations, as the country’s future lay in their hands, adding that the development was unprecedented in his constituency.

“I don’t think it has ever happened in my constituency. So it is an incident which has brought about a lot of sadness,” he stated.

Mr Muntaka admitted that plans for the construction of a new community centre had been on the table for some time, but had had to wait for more pressing things such as renovation of school buildings, clinics, and others, given the funds available.

However, he explained that the new community centre to be constructed will have additional emergency exits.

“We need to ensure that we go and construct two more emergency exits. Nobody foresaw this. Once this incident has happened, we need to make sure that structure is properly constructed and properly placed to deal with emergency situations.

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