Live Updates: Indonesia Appoints Independent Commission to Investigate Stampede

Credit…Mast Irham/EPA, via Shutterstock

MALANG, Indonesia — An Indonesian human rights official said that just two exits were open in the Kanjuruhan Stadium, where the police fired tear gas into stands holding thousands of people, adding that the use of tear gas appeared to play a key role in the crush of fleeing people that killed as many as 125.

Mohammad Choirul Anam, a member of Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights, said his organization would investigate the disaster and the role of the police. The police have said that fans attacked officers and that the use of force was necessary. The government appointed an independent commission to investigate the deaths on Monday.

“From the videos that have been circulated, there were violent actions,” Mr. Anam said. “Not only the usage of tear gas, but also there was also use of force. We want to investigate why that happened.”

He said an initial examination suggested that tear gas played a major role in the disaster. If it had not been used, “there’s a possibility that there would be no stampede.”

Human rights investigators would also look at the design of the stadium, where the victims were found and what sort of injuries they had, Mr. Anam said.

The disaster unfolded after a match in which Arema Football Club lost to Persebaya Surabayafor the first time in more than 20 years.

The president of the Aremaapologized for the catastrophe on Monday.

“Honestly, we are very shocked, we are devastated,” said the club president, Gilang Widya Pramana, choking up as his eyes welled with tears. “We are lost for words on how it could have come to so many victims.”

Mr. Pramana said he apologized to the victims and their families, the soccer league, the police, the Indonesian people and the president of the country, Joko Widodo. He said the club intended to pay compensation to the victims and their families.

He described the carnage on Saturday as unexpected, noting that there were no visiting fans in the stadium to clash with Arema supporters. After Arema lost on Saturday, some fans of the home team rushed onto the field. The police fired tear gas and hit fans with batons, witnesses said, driving them into narrow exit corridors where they crushed against one another.

“They are good supporters,” said Mr. Pramana. “But that night, I never expected that this would ever happen.”

Sudarmaji, a spokesman for Arema, denied reports that tickets to the game had been oversold, increasing the safety risk in the stadium. Mr. Sudarmaji, who goes by one name, declined to answer questions about witness statements that the exits were closed as the crowd tried to escape the tear gas.

Mr. Pramana said that many of the Arema players helped the injured, and their dressing room was later used to hold the bodies of those who died. “They are very shocked and sad,” he added.

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