Indonesia launches probe into football stampede
Jakarta, Oct 03: A partially independent team will investigate the failings that led to the deaths of 125 people, including children, at a soccer match in Indonesia over the weekend, a government minister said on Monday.
The fact-finding team will be made up of government officials, football association officials, experts, academics and journalists.
"The team is expected to finish its work in two or three weeks," senior security minister Mohammad Mahfud said.
Police will also conduct a separate investigation looking into the people believed to be responsible for the tragedy.
What we know about the Indonesian soccer tragedy
The events unfolded on Saturday night at the Kanjuruhan stadium in East Java. Angry fans of the home team Arema FC stormed the pitch after losing 3-2 to their local rivals Persebaya Surabaya.
In response, police fired tear gas into the stands. The resulting panic saw spectators rush to the exits where many people suffocated or were crushed. Two police officers were also killed.
Following the disaster — one of the worst in recent sports history — President Joko Widodo suspended all games in the top Liga 1 competition.
Accusations have been leveled at security forces as well as stadium officials with questions being raised about the use of tear gas in crowded areas, as well as the excessive number of tickets being sold leading to overcapacity in the stadium.
Activists call for accountability
Human Rights Watch (HRW) called for police to be held accountable in light of their decision to fire "significant and excessive amounts of teargas, which apparently caused suffocation, and stampeded the crowd towards exits where many were trampled to death," HRW deputy Asia director Phil Robertson said.
Security minister Mahfud said the government had asked the police to "find the perpetrators who have committed crimes in the next few days."
"We asked them to unveil who has perpetrated the crimes and that action must be taken against them and we also hope the National Police will evaluate their security procedures," he added.