Lightning strikes Adventist church in Rwanda, killing 16

At least 16 people were killed and dozens injured when lightning struck a Seventh-Day Adventist church in Rwanda on Saturday, an official said.

Most of the victims died instantly when the lightning hit the church in the southern district of Nyaruguru, a local mayor, Habitegeko Francois, told AFP.

Two people died from their injuries and 140 people were rushed to hospital and health centres, according to the BBC.

The mayor said that lightning also killed a student in the area on Friday.


The incident on Saturday, in the mountainous region near the border with Burundi, took place at around midday while parishioners of the town of Gihemvu were at a church service, the BBC reported.

Francois told AFP on Sunday: 'Doctors say that only three [more churchgoers] are in critical condition but they are getting better.'

He added that in Friday's incident, lightning struck a group of 18 students in the area, leaving one dead.

Three of the students reportedly remain in hospital while the rest have been able to return home.

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