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Horseplay blamed for fatal stampede

A stampede that killed six children and injured 26 others at an elementary school in southern Chinese has been blamed on horseplay which sparked panic among dozens of pupils.

The state-run Beijing News said several boys were playing in the school in the city of Kunming yesterday when they knocked over several foam rubber sleeping mats.

The mats landed on several boys, whose screams caused panic among other children. Some students then rushed down a narrow staircase out of the school building, causing the stampede.

The newspaper attributed its report today to interviews with witnesses from the Mingtong Elementary School.

Following the stampede, Kunming officials demanded that all schools in the city be thoroughly checked to remove any safety hazards.

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