A preliminary police investigation has found that an incident leading to the deaths of 17 people in Nabire, Papua, on Sunday was caused by the overcrowding of Kota Lama Sports Stadium and not by a clash between supporters.
“We underline that the incident was not incited by a clash, but because the spectators jostled to get out through one exit door, resulting in some of them being trampled,” National Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Agus Rianto said in Jakarta on Tuesday.
Besides the 17 fatalities, dozens of others were also injured in the incident at the stadium, where the 2013 Nabire Regent Cup boxing championship took place on Sunday. It was previously reported that mayhem broke out when supporters of the losing boxer vehemently rejected his defeat. They pelted stones at other spectators. Thousands of spectators panicked and tried to force their way through the one exit door.
At the time, 1,500 people were in the stadium, which has a capacity of only 900.
Agus said the local authorities were in the process of releasing the remains of the deceased to their respective families. As of Monday, three of the 17 victims had been buried.
“Today, the remains of two victims will be transported to their families in Mapia, Dogiyai,” he said, adding that 22 of 39 injured victims were also being treated at the hospital.
Two critically injured people who were being treated at Nabire General Hospital were airlifted to Jayapura on Tuesday and admitted to Purathe Dok II General Hospital for better care.
“Most of those admitted to Nabire General Hospital were injured in the stampede, although some experience a lack of oxygen,” said the hospital’s director, Johni R. Tandisau.
“None of them died of injuries from sharp weapons,” he said.
Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian was still in Nabire as of Tuesday to meet with community, religious and traditional leaders and to oversee security in Nabire.
“The local community has accepted the incident as a tragedy,” Papua Police chief spokesman I Gede Sumerta Jaya told The Jakarta Post over the phone.
Meanwhile, the police have yet to name any suspects. “We have questioned witnesses and are building a case, but have yet to name a suspect,” said Sumerta.