Lightning Strikes Church In Rwanda, Kills 16 and Injures 140

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter
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Lightning struck a a Seventh Day Adventist church in southern Rwanda’s mountainous region Saturday and killed 16 people and injured 140.

The majority of those who died were killed instantly, though two people succumbed to their injuries sometime afterward. The other 140 harmed were rushed to medical care facilities, according to BBC. Lightning struck during a Saturday church service in the town of Gihemvu and was the second such incident to occur in two days, as Friday lightning hit a group of 18 students and killed one, according to the Associated Press.

“Doctors say that only three [more churchgoers] are in critical condition, but they are getting better,” local mayor Habitegeko Francois said, according to BBC.

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Only three students of the 18 students struck Friday remain in the hospital, Francois said. Lightning strikes are common in the mountainous and hilly regions of Rwanda, but the two latest incidents come two weeks after Rwandan officials closed over 700 churches for violations of noise pollution regulations and failure to comply with building codes. Many of the churches that failed inspection did so because they they were built without permits and lacked both metal detectors and lightning rods, which are required according to Rwandan building regulations.

Some of the closed churches have since re-opened after being approved by a building inspector.

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