World News

Eleven die in stampede at Morocco concert

RABAT (Reuters) - Eleven people were killed in a stampede at a stadium in the Moroccan capital Rabat overnight when thousands of spectators hurried to leave at the end of a concert wrapping up the city’s landmark music festival.

The stampede caused a fence to give way, killing five women, two teenagers and four men. Forty people were injured, eight of them seriously.

The victims were among 70,000 spectators at a concert by Moroccan pop star Abdelaziz Stati at the Hay Nahda soccer stadium in Rabat.

“An investigation is under way to establish the exact causes and circumstances of the incident,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The concert was part of a week-long annual Mawazine music festival in Rabat which ended in the early hours of Sunday.

Mawazine is one of a growing number of well-funded music festivals aimed at promoting an image of tolerance and modernity in the Muslim north African kingdom.

This year’s festival featured Kylie Minogue, Ennio Morricone, Khaled, Alicia Keys and Algerian diva Warda al Jazairia, and drew tens of thousands of spectators.

Mawazine, which is backed by King Mohammed, aims to liven up the sleepy capital Rabat and ward off the growing cultural influence of powerful opposition Islamists.

Moroccan Islamist politicians have denounced pop concerts as encouraging immoral behaviour. They argue it would be better to spend the money to create jobs.

Editing by Jon Hemming