Source AP ©

Sugar stampede in Zimbabwe takes 2 lives

A 15-year-old school boy and a security guard died as hordes of shoppers tried to buy sugar in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo.

Several people were also injured Wednesday at the Entumbane Shopping Complex, the Zimbabwe state-controlled Chronicle newspaper reported.

A government order slashing prices of all goods and services by about half in June has led to acute shortages of cornmeal, bread, meat, gasoline and other basic commodities. The price cuts led to panic buying and hoarding.

The security guard, a 35-year-old man who was not named, died at the scene when a crowd of people trying to get into the shopping center pushed over a brick pillar, crushing him.

The school boy, who was also not named, died in hospital after he had been admitted with two fractured legs and a broken arm.

Eyewitness Enos Luphahla said the security guard was unlocking the gate when people started pushing forward.

"When he saw the number of people pushing the gate he sensed danger and hid behind the pillar between the two gates. The pressure was however too much for the wall and it fell on him and was trapped under the pillar," he told the Chronicle.

"Part of the wall also fell on a boy who was also intending to buy sugar," the witness said. "Instead of rescuing those who had been trapped, people trampled on the pillar in a bid to be the first in the queue. Some people also fell as they ran towards the shops, resulting in them being trampled on and several people were injured in the process."

The boy Luphahla saw under the wall was the one who died.

The report said that about 1,000 people had been lining up for the sugar from as early as 6 a.m. Authorities later called police to control the line.

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