"It's a very unfortunate and sad incident," said Uganda Police Force spokesperson Angucia Josephine

By Joelle Goldstein
August 28, 2020 11:25 AM
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An evening spent playing soccer took a tragic turn for a group of children in Uganda after a bolt of lightning struck the field, killing 10 and injuring four others.

The fatal incident occurred on Thursday evening around 6 p.m. at a soccer field near the Odramacaku trading center in Arua City, Uganda Police Force spokesperson Angucia Josephine announced in a statement.

It started to rain as the children, ranging in age from 9 to 16, were playing, and they took shelter in "a grass-thatched structure" next to the field, Josephine said.

While inside the structure, 14 of the children were struck by lightning — 10 of whom did not survive, according to authorities.

In the statement, Josephine confirmed their identities as Andrua Samuel, 16; Awia Kennedy, 13; Andama Godfrey, 13; Bati Gasper, 15; Afeku Saviour, 13; Edema Jasiri, 15; Ocatre Patrick, 13; Asite Jordan, 11; Apajobo David, 12; and a 13-year-old boy identified as Tom.

Their bodies were taken by relatives for burial, while the four others who were injured during the incident received medical attention. Josephine said three of the four survivors were still receiving treatment at a health clinic as of Friday morning.

Ugandan authorities identified those injured as 11-year-old Ayikobua Martin from Nyaute village; 14-year-old Munguci Boniface from Nyaute village; 14-year-old Adriko Yofasi from Gbuluku village; and 9-year-old Andama Festo from Gbuluku village.

"It's a very unfortunate and sad incident," Josephine wrote. "May the souls of the deceased rest in peace and may the almighty God comfort the bereaved families in this trying moment. As for the injured, we pray for quick recovery."

Josephine noted that it is not uncommon for the East African country and West Nile region to experience severe lightning during wet seasons.

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"It is a rainy season with a lot of lightning in West Nile and other similar incidences have been confirmed elsewhere in the same regions," Josephine wrote.

According to ABC News, fatal lightning strikes are often reported in Uganda during these seasons, with some instances including children getting struck while inside their classrooms.

Classroom blocks, especially in rural areas like Uganda, are not equipped with lightning diverters to prevent these incidents from happening, the outlet reported.