Tragedy strikes after African Nations Cup qualifiers

An African Nations Cup qualifier played as a symbol of the new peace in Ivory Coast was overshadowed by tragedy at two other venues.

Twenty-two people, most of them Togolese sports officials returning from an African Nations Cup qualifier, were killed when a passenger helicopter exploded and crashed on Sunday at Sierra Leone's main international airport.

Atipe Kwako, Togo's sports minister, was believed to be among the victims of the crash. They had chartered the helicopter to return from the game, where Togo beat Sierra Leona, 1-0, to the international airport instead of taking a slower ferry back.

The crash came a day after a stampede killed 12 people and injured more than 40 as fans left a stadium in the Zambian copper mining town of Chililabombwe, where Zambia had just beaten Congo, 3-0, in a key Group 11 match.

Chelsea star Didier Drogba had requested Ivory Coast's qualifier against Madagascar be played in the central city of Bouake, which has been a rebel stronghold since a 2002-03 civil war split the West African country into two halves.

There has been remarkable progress shown since a peace treaty was signed on March 4 Before the match, rebels swept the streets of Bouake and welcomed some Ivorians from the south for the first time since the war.

Ivory Coast's Elephants won the game, 5-0, to remain perfect in three games in Group 1.

AFRICAN NATIONS CUP QUALIFYING:
Group 1

Ivory Coast-Madagascar 5-0
Group 2
Burundi-Botswana 1-0
Mauritania-Egypt 1-1
Group 3
Uganda-Nigeria 2-1
Group 4
Sudan-Mauritius 3-0
Tunisia-Seychelles Islands 4-0
Group 5
Rwanda-Equatorial Guinea 2-0
Liberia-Cameroon 1-2
Group 6
Eritrea-Angola 1-1
Swaziland-Kenya 0-0
Group 7
Tanzania-Senegal 1-1
Mozambique-Burkina Faso 3-0
Group 8
Cape Verde Islands-Algeria 2-2
Guinea-Gambia 2-2
Group 9
Benin-Mali 0-0
Sierra Leone-Togo 0-1
Group 10
Ethiopia-DR Congo 1-0
Group 11
South Africa-Chad 4-0
Zambia-Congo 3-0
Group 12
Morocco-Zimbabwe 2-0

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