The Ivory Coast government has declared a three-day period of mourning following the stampede which killed 61 people in Abidjan in the early hours of New Year's Day.

President Alassane Ouattara visited the injured victims in hospital and described the incident as a national tragedy. The government has pledged to bear the medical expenses of the victims, and established an inquiry to examine the cause of the tragedy.

"I hope that we can determine what caused this drama so that we can ensure it never happens again," said Ouattara.

The stampede took place when hundreds of people were heading home after a New Year's firework display at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium. The majority of those killed in the crush were aged between eight and 15 years old.

Some onlookers report that the crush was triggered when police forces stepped in to ensure security after the fireworks. Reuters suggests thousands of people were trying to leave the festivities at the same time as another large crowd was arriving.

"My two children came here yesterday. I told them not to come but they didn't listen. They came when I was sleeping. What will I do?" Assetou Toure, a cleaner, told Reuters.

A similar stampede in 2009 killed 18 people during a football match in the same city.

Shoes are seen along a street in Plateau district where a stampede occurred after a New Year's Eve fireworks display in AbidjanReuters
A view of a street in Plateau district where a stampede occurred after a New Year's Eve fireworks display in AbidjanReuters
Ivorian President Ouattara's wife Dominique visits people wounded by stampede in AbidjanReuters
People wounded from a stampede that occurred after a New Year's Eve fireworks display are seen in Cocody's Hospital in AbidjanReuters
People wounded from a stampede that occurred after a New Year's Eve fireworks display are seen in Cocody's Hospital in AbidjanReuters
Belongings are seen along a street in Plateau district where a stampede occurred after a New Year's Eve fireworks display in AbidjanReuters
Soldiers arrive at the site of a stampede that occurred after a New Year's Eve fireworks display in Plateau district, AbidjanReuters
Ivorian President Ouattara and wife Dominique visit people wounded from stampede at a hospital in AbidjanReuters
Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara listens to police report at site of stampede in Plateau district of AbidjanReuters
A view of a pit in Plateau district where a stampede occurred after a New Year's Eve fireworks display in AbidjanReuters