An 11-year-old girl was killed in a stampede on Tuesday as crowds struggled to claim alms to mark Eid at the home of Indonesian vice President-elect Jusuf Kalla in Makassar, South Sulawesi.
The sixth grade student named Radika died when 5,000 people queued for the distribution of 50,000 rupiah (US$4.35) and food as part of a reception for Eid at the home of Kalla, who was last week confirmed as the incoming vice president. A further six people were injured during the stampede.
Pictures taken outside Kalla’s house showed crammed crowds against the front wall of his compound, with some people squatting on the wall to escape the crush below.
About 200 police personnel could not control the situation “when people started to stampede”, said South Sulawesi Police spokesman Endi Sutendi.
The victim was already unhealthy he added, without giving details, although a relative was quoted by the state-run Antara news agency as saying the girl was trampled to death. She died in an ambulance on the way to hospital.
Kalla was covering the cost of the girl’s burial and medical treatment for those injured, said his spokesman Poempida Hidayatulloh.
“Actually, we hoped there would be no children… for the sake of safety. The incident was unpredictable. We were concerned about it,” he added.
Kalla has held a house reception to mark Eid at the end of the Ramadan fast for the past 40 years without incident, said Hidayatulloh.
The death marked a sour note following an otherwise jubilant few weeks for Kalla, after his friend and colleague Joko Widodo was last Tuesday confirmed as the winner of the recent presidential election.
Kalla is due to take office following Widodo’s scheduled inauguration on October 20.