KINSHASA, Congo — A stampede at a soccer stadium in Congo's capital killed at least 15 people after angry fans threw rocks from the stands, prompting security officers to fire tear gas that caused crowds to flee in panic, government officials and witnesses said Monday.
The stampede at the Tata Raphael Stadium in Kinshasa happened toward the end of a match Sunday between popular teams AS Vita Club and TP Mazembe.
At least 21 others were injured during the melee, said Gov. Andre Kimbuta, who has set up a commission to investigate the incident.
Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende on Monday defended the actions of the security officers.
"It is false to say that the violence was started by the tear gas, which was used to protect people being threatened by elements in the stands who were acting like militiamen," he said.
Three of the injured remained in the hospital, Mende said.
Spectator Kanga Yves said the crowds were trampled as they tried to flee the tear gas, and that he had seen at least eight bodies.
Witnesses said angry fans threw objects onto the field including rocks late in the match on the last day of the league season. The home team, AS Vita, was losing 1-0.
The stampede caused a recently restored wall and gate to collapse, the Confederation of African Football said in a statement.
Tampa's Green on initial U.S. World Cup roster
NEW YORK — U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann selected the mostly untested trio of John Brooks, Timmy Chandler and DeAndre Yedlin for his 30-man preliminary squad for Brazil 2014. (For full roster see For The Record, 2C)
Julian Green, a Tampa native playing for Bayern Munich, was also named to the preliminary team. Green, 18, was born at MacDill Air Force Base and moved to Germany when he was 2. Though the wing played for the German under-19 team this year, Green was able to secure permission from FIFA in March to play for the U.S.
"We have two huge talents," Klinsmann said of Green and Yedlin. "It will be interesting to see now how they take that challenge because, obviously, they don't have the experience like other players have."
Yedlin, a 20-year-old right back, has made just two international appearances. Brooks, 21, a central defender, made his international debut in August. Chandler, a right back with Nuremberg in Germany, debuted in 2011 but has not played for the U.S. since February 2013.
Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley and Tim Howard were among the prominent veterans named.
Klinsmann omitted several veterans including Eddie Johnson. He selected 11 defenders, 10 midfielders and six forwards for training camp in California, where he will decide on his final 23. Johnson scored the first goal against Mexico last September that clinched the Americans' seventh straight World Cup berth. The U.S. team's next friendly is May 27 in San Francisco against Azerbaijan.
MLS: Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer signed new broadcast rights deals with ESPN, Fox and Univision. The contracts are for eight years through 2022. ESPN has aired MLS games since the league's inception in 1996. NBC is in the final season of a three-year deal.