At least nine people have died in a crush at a mall as revelers ring in the new year in the capital Kampala, police said.

At least nine people, including a 10-year-old boy, have been killed when crowds rushing to see New Year’s fireworks got trapped in a narrow corridor in a shopping center near Uganda’s capital, police said .

People began to force their way through a corridor in Kampala’s Freedom City Mall just after the clock struck midnight, police said on Sunday.

“A lot of people got stuck because they came in large numbers to see fireworks. Many people have died from suffocation. Nine deaths have been confirmed so far,” the police statement said.

People had been celebrating the New Year at the mall which is located on a highway connecting Kampala to Entebbe International Airport.

“Emergency services arrived at the scene and transported the injured to hospital, where nine were confirmed dead,” said police spokesman Luke Owoyesigyire.

Owoyesigyire added that “brash” actions and “negligence” had led to the tragedy.

The celebrations welcoming 2023 were the first in the East African country since restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and security concerns were lifted.

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