Lightning strike kills 16 in Rwanda church

Most of the victims died instantly when lightning hit the church in the southern district of Nyaruguru

Worshippers were killed in Nyaruguru (red), in southern district of Rwanda (pink).

At least 16 people have been killed in Rwanda and 140 others injured when lightning struck a Seventh Day Adventist church in the country's south, a provincial governor says.

Some 70 of the injured were admitted to Munini hospital, and 58 of them have been discharged, said Innocent Ndebeyaho, director of the hospital, on Sunday.

The likelihood of a lightning strike killing so many people at once is incredibly low.

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It took place around midday on Saturday while parishioners of the town of Gihemvu were at a church service.

According to the French-based news agency Agence France-Presse, local mayor Habitegeko Francois said fourteen victims had been killed instantly and two had died later from their injuries.

Mr Francois said there was a similar incident on Friday, in which a student died after lightning hit a group of 18 people.

The deadly church incident comes less than two weeks after the closure of more than 700 Rwandan churches for failing to comply with building regulations and for noise pollution.

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