‘Action must be taken,’ says Indonesian minister, in response to stadium stampede deaths

The Indonesian government demanded Monday that the perpetrators of a stadium stampede that killed 125 people be identified and punished, as outrage grew over one of football’s deadliest disasters.

On Saturday night in Malang, 323 people were injured after officers fired tear gas into a packed stadium to quell a pitch invasion, causing a stampede.

“We ask the national police to find the perpetrators who have committed crimes in the next few days,” Indonesia’s chief security minister Mahfud MD said in a broadcast statement, without specifying who he was referring to.

“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, announcing a task force for the investigation had been formed.

The incident occurred after Arema FC fans stormed the pitch at the Kanjuruhan stadium following their 3-2 loss to bitter rivals Persebaya Surabaya.

According to witnesses, police responded by launching volleys of tear gas into crowded terraces, prompting spectators to rush en masse to small gates, where many were trampled or suffocated.

The incident was described by police as a riot in which two officers were killed, but survivors accuse them of overreacting and killing scores of spectators, including a five-year-old boy.

“One of our messages is for the authorities to investigate this (incident) thoroughly. And we want accountability, who is to blame?” said 25-year-old Andika, who declined to give his last name.

“We want justice for our fallen supporters,” he said.

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