By Sana Elouazi
By Sana Elouazi
Rabat – The Ministry of Interior and the central command of the Royal Gendarmerie have just closed their investigations into the circumstances surrounding November’s fatal stampede in Sidi Boulalam, for which some local officials may be accountable.
The deadly stampede, which occurred in a weekly souk in the commune of Sidi Boulalam in the Essaouira province while a charity was distributing food, resulted in the death of 15 people, including many women and a four-month-old. The tragedy also caused the injury of at least 40 people, with some in critical condition.
Following more than two weeks of investigations, meetings were held local authorities of the province of Essaouira to review, audit, and evaluate all the measures adopted and to detect any possible dysfunctions in order to determine who is responsible.
The daily Akhbar Al Yaoum reported in its recent edition that local officials, including the territorial administration, will be punished.
The investigation have determined, to varying degrees, the responsibility of certain agents of authority, who would not have made the necessary measures to avoid the tragedy.
The governor of the province of Essaouira, Jamal Mokhtar, is still at the heart of the investigation conducted by the investigating judge at the Court of Appeal of Marrakech. Similarly, the Caid who oversees the Amramr administrative annex and the Interim head of Alhanchane Circle are also under the spotlight.
The humanitarian association is owned by Abdelkebir El Hadidi, a Casablanca-based imam originally from the Essaouira province. The association has been carrying out this operation every year, bringing people from all over the region to benefit from the food aid.
According to the daily, El Hadidi was absolved from liability after being called by Moroccan authorities for investigations.
The imam told investigators that he had informed the authorities of the operation, which was scheduled to take place on Sunday in the weekly souk of Sidi Boulalam. He explained that “the operation was in accordance with the law under the supervision of the authorities.”
Discharged from responsibility, El Hadidi has now returned to work in a mosque located in the California district of Casablanca.