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Dozens injured in school stampede

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A policeman guards the entrance to the north west China school where dozens of children were hurt in a stampede (AP)

Dozens of children have been injured when a mad rush to the playground turned into a stampede at a primary school in western China.

Students at the No 5 Elementary School in Aksu city were rushing downstairs for after-class exercises at around noon local time on Monday when some students fell, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The report said other students then pushed to squeeze through the narrow stairway, trampling on those who had fallen.

Xinhua put the number injured at nearly 100, while an official with the Aksu government’s office said more than 40 were hurt and are being treated in hospital. No deaths were reported.

The official said an investigation is under way. It is unclear whether teachers or other adults were present during the incident.

School safety in China came under scrutiny earlier this year when a string of stabbings around the country killed and injured dozens of school children.

The attacks prompted Chinese authorities to tighten security at schools. Police and guards were posted at entrances and video surveillance and intruder alarms installed on some school premises.

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