updated 8/16/2007 5:56:06 PM ET 2007-08-16T21:56:06

Hordes of shoppers desperate to buy sugar amid severe shortages stampeded at a shopping complex in Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, killing a 15-year-old boy and a security guard, state media reported Thursday.

Several people were also injured in the rush Wednesday at the Entumbane Shopping Complex in Bulawayo, the Zimbabwe state-controlled Chronicle newspaper reported.

A government order slashing prices of all goods and services by about half in June has led to acute shortages of bread, meat, gasoline and other basic commodities in Zimbabwe, which is in its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980.

The price cuts have prompted panic buying and hoarding.

The 35-year-old security guard died at the scene when a crowd trying to get into the shopping center pushed over a brick pillar, crushing him.

The boy died in a hospital after being admitted with two fractured legs and a broken arm.

About 1,000 people had been lining up to buy sugar as early as 6 a.m., and some scaled over the wall as soon as the guard attempted to open the gate, the report said.

Eyewitness Enos Luphahla said the guard was unlocking the gate when people began pushing forward.

“When he saw the number of people pushing the gate he sensed danger and hid behind the pillar between the two gates. The pressure was however too much for the wall and it fell on him and was trapped under the pillar,” he told the newspaper.

Part of the pillar also fell on the boy, he added.

Officials later called police to control the line before the sugar was sold.

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