Algiers - Raucous celebrations after Algeria qualified for the 2014 World Cup
finals were linked to the deaths of 12 people and some 240 injured,
authorities reported Wednesday, as soccer-mad fans poured into the
streets and revelers raced their cars and honked.
in joy and people waved Algerian flags in victory after the North
African country defeated Burkina Faso on Tuesday night.
country where political rallies are ill-attended without some kind of
financial incentive, nothing gets people into the streets like a soccer
championship, with celebrations for ordinary club championships going on
well into the night in some neighborhoods.
Most of the injuries
and deaths were young men in traffic accidents, according to emergency
services, typically from speeding around crowded city streets or the
rain-slicked winding roads in the mountains.
Five fans were killed
when their van slid off the road into a ravine in the mountain town of
Bejaia, east of Algiers, while four others died in the southern city of
Biskra when two trucks collided, according to a statement from emergency
In Bouira, southeast of the capital, a vehicle carrying
a family skidded off the road, killing a 10-year-old. Eight other
passengers, including four children between the ages of 3 and 8, were
also injured, said the state news agency.
The remaining two deaths
occurred in the towns of Tipaza and M'Sila.
Much of the north of the
country was blanketed with heavy rains Tuesday, exacerbating the dangers
It is the country's fourth trip to the World Cup and follows closely on its 2010 appearance in South Africa.
Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and other members of the government lunched
with the victorious team on Wednesday. The absence of ailing President
Abdelaziz Bouteflika was noted as another sign of his increasing
infirmity following a stroke in April.
The 76-year-old president was nominated by his party Saturday to run for a fourth term.