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16 killed as lightning strikes church in Rwanda

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KIGALI — At least 16 people were killed and 140 others injured after lightning struck a Seventh-Day Adventist church in Rwanda, a local official said on Sunday.

The churchgoers were injured and rushed to a nearby hospital, where two were in serious condition, Rose Mureshyankwano said.

She said 17 of those injured were still in the hospital, while the rest had been discharged.

A similar incident occurred on Friday when lightning struck a group of 18 students, killing one.

Images shared by local authorities showed crowds of people, along with officials, observing caskets in Nyaruguru district.

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Last October, lightning killed 18 people in different parts of the country.

Lightning strikes are frequent across Rwanda, which has many hills and mountains, and the country’s police record a number of human and livestock deaths each year.

Lightning killed 30 people, injured 61 and killed 48 livestock in 2016, the most recent year with full figures, according to Rwanda’s Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs.

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Thai authorities launch search for youth soccer team trapped in cave

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BANGKOK — Search and rescue teams on Sunday are looking for a dozen members of a youth soccer team who are missing since late Saturday afternoon, believed to be trapped in a cave in northern Thailand.

Police said local authorities, police and rescue workers were working with divers to find the 12 boys, aged 11-15, and their coach, who are believed to have entered the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai province.

The group were apparently trapped when a heavy storm flooded a stream at the cave’s entrance.

Police Colonel Komsan Saardluan said parts of the cave, which is an estimated 6-8 kilometres long, get flooded to a height of as much as 5 metres during the rainy season, which runs from June through to October.

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Footage on Thai television showed bikes and backpacks left at the cave entrance. ThaiPBS television reported the team members came from various schools in the province and were thought to have been practicing before going to the park where the cave is located.

The search began around midnight on Saturday after police received a report of a missing child from a mother who said her son had not returned from the soccer practice that evening, ThaiPBS reported.

It said the mother last spoke to her son when he told her in the afternoon he was with the group visiting a cave inside the Tham Luang-Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district.

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