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Indonesian bishop expresses solidarity with victims, families of football tragedy

The riots at Kanjurahan Stadium, Indonesia (Photo credit: Kompas.Com)

An Indonesian bishop expressed his solidarity with the families who lost loved ones and others injured in a football stampede at Malang’s Kanjuruhan Stadium in East Java.

Bishop Henricus Piyyarto Gunawan, O.Carm of Malang Raya, described the catastrophe as startling and tragic.

While praying for the deceased and injured victims, the bishop earnestly hopes that this catastrophe will serve as a valuable lesson so that it does not occur at the Kanjuruhan stadium or anywhere in the future.

Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the fourth-most populous country in the world. 

A stampede occurred after a soccer match in Malang, Indonesia, on October 1, 2022, killing at least 174 people and leaving 180 wounded.

The National Police reported on Sunday (October 2) that the death toll has reached 174 and is expected to rise as more than 180 people remain hospitalized with injuries from the tragedy on Saturday night, considered one of the world’s deadliest sporting stadium disasters. 

The officials stated that the tragedy occurred when the fans entered the stadium shortly after the game because they could not accept their team's defeat.

Tens of thousands of spectators fled the stadium as police sprayed tear gas, a move judged disproportionate by many and the primary cause of the stampede.

At a press conference on Sunday morning, East Java Police Chief Inspector General Nico Afinta stated at a press conference that, out of the 42,000 people in attendance, approximately 3,000 raced to the climb.

"After the conclusion of the match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya, the losing team's supporters entered the field, and police shot tear gas, causing a stampede and cases of suffocation," East Java Police Chief Inspector General Nico Afinta told reporters.

Malang, the home of Arema FC, is a city in the Indonesian province of East Java that is landlocked. It is the second-most populous city in the region and is located 851.3 kilometers from the country's capital, Jakarta.

Bishop Hendircus Pidyarto Gunawan of Malang Raya

 Surabaya, the home of Persebaya and the provincial capital of East Java, is located 782,7 kilometers from Jakarta, the nation's capital. Surabaya is a port city on the island of Java in Indonesia.

The Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, has ordered that all matches in Indonesia’s top league must stop pending an investigation.
The Malang stadium disaster appeared to be the bloodiest since 1964 when 328 people were claimed to have perished during a riot and crush at the Estadio Nacional when Peru hosted Argentina.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis expressed his prayers and solidarity with the dead and injured in a crash at an Indonesian football match.

In a message from the Vatican, he said: "I pray for those who have lost their lives and for the wounded following clashes that erupted during a soccer match in Malang, Indonesia."

The Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, has ordered that all matches in Indonesia’s top league must stop pending an investigation.- Kasmir Nema


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