12 Dead, 240 Injured Following World Cup Celebrations In Algeria

A World Cup-clinching victory set off celebrations that led to the country’s second soccer tragedy in past three months.

Algeria’s El Arbi Soudani celebrates after winning their 2014 World Cup qualifying second leg playoff soccer match against Burkina Faso at Tchaker Stadium in Blida, November 19, 2013. Louafi Larbi / Reuters

Twelve people died and 240 more were injured in Algeria Tuesday night, during celebrations for the national soccer team’s World Cup-clinching victory, according to Algerian authorities.

After the win, fans celebrated the victory across Algeria, driving their cars through the streets and honking their horns despite heavy rains in the northern part of the country.

In a statement released Wednesday, the Algerian government reported that five fans were killed when a van slid off a road into a ravine in the port city of Bejaia and four more died in a car accident in Biskra, the capital city of the province of the same name. Three more people died in other towns, though the statement didn’t elaborate or provide more details. Authorities also did not provide details on the reported 240 injuries or how they occurred.

The deaths came after Algeria beat Burkina Faso 1-0, earning Africa’s last berth in next year’s World Cup in Brazil. Madjid Bougherra scored off a scramble in the 49th minute, putting Algeria ahead in the home-and-home, total-goals series following a 3-2 loss at Burkina Faso last month. The game took place in Tchaker Stadium in Blida, a city of about 182,000 about 30 miles southwest of Algiers.

Algeria previously qualified for World Cups in 1982, 1986 and 2010.

It was the second tragedy involving Algerian soccer fans in the past three months. On Sept. 22, two people were killed by the collapse of a stand at the main stadium in Algiers. The stadium was subsequently closed, and Youcef Kara, director general of the Olympic Complex which runs the stadium, told national radio that” overloading at this part of the stand and the large number of fans that had entered the stadium” may have caused this “tragedy.”

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