World

Unofficial barriers blamed in deaths

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — Survivors of a stampede in ­Ivory Coast that killed 61 people, most of them children and teenagers, after a New Year’s Eve fireworks display said Wednesday that makeshift barricades stopped them from moving along a main boulevard, causing the crush.

A police officer said the tree trunks were put out unofficially by people who are not known.

‘‘After the fireworks we reopened the other streets, but we had not yet removed the tree trunks from the Boulevard de la Republique’’ she said. ‘‘That is where the stampede happened.’’

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Local newspapers are speculating that thieves put up the roadblocks so that pickpockets could steal money and mobile phones from the packed-in people.

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President Alassane Outtara ordered three days of national mourning and launched an investigation.

Associated Press