This incident is considered to be the worst after a lightning strike back in 2011, which left 18 children dead.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on September 1, 2020. It has since been updated.
We can say without a doubt that growing up playing outdoors, riding bicycles with our friends, or spending lazy afternoons at the pool are some of the best childhood memories.
As kids, you're always sure that nothing would go wrong as long as you're with your friends or family because you know they'll be there for you no matter what. But, life can be pretty unexpected and relentless at times. It can throw a jab at you when you least expect it. That's what happened to parents of 10 children in Uganda when they lost their kids in the most unexpected way.
A usual day of playing soccer and enjoying some fun time with friends turned tragic for a group of children after a lightning bolt hit the field. While 10 of the innocent kids lost their life, four were injured.
The incident took place around 6 p.m on August 27 at the soccer field near the Odramacaku trading center in Arua City, Uganda. According to the statement of the Uganda Police Force spokesperson, SP Angucia Josephine, on Facebook, the children affected by the incident were between the age of 9 to 16. The statement read, "In Arua, police has confirmed an incident where 10 male juveniles between the ages of 11–16years hailing from the villages of Gbuluku and Nyaute were killed by lightning at a football pitch near Odramacaku trading center, Anzuu parish, Ayivuni sub-county, Ayivu division, Arua City."
She further explained how the children were around the area when the incident happened. The post read that as soon as it started to rain "the children took a shelter from rain in a grass-thatched structure next to the pitch." Josephine continued, "The children were playing at the pitch before taking shelter from rain."
The effect of the lightning was so strong that it killed 10 kids leaving 4 others injured. "Their bodies were being taken by relatives for burial meanwhile out of the 4 survivors, 3 are still receiving treatment at a nearby health center. It is a rainy season with a lot of lightning in WestNile and other similar incidences have been confirmed elsewhere in the same region," continued Josephine.
She also revealed the identities of all the victims. They were 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 Tom, who's also 13, reported People.
The heartbreak of the parents and close ones of the young victims was beyond imaginable. The pain got worse as their loved ones took their bodies for burial. The police spokesperson also revealed that out of the four children who were injured, three were still under treatment at a regional hospital.
11-year-old Ayikobua Martin from Nyaute village, Munguci Boniface, 14, from Nyaute village, Adriko Yofasi from Gbuluku village, also 14, and 9-year-old Andama Festo from Gbuluku village were identified as the injured kids by the authorities.
Expressing the grief and sincerest condolences from the entire Police department, Josephine wrote, "It's a very unfortunate and sad incident. 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."
According to ABC News, even though Uganda faces fatal lightning strikes during the wet season, the place, especially the classroom blocks in rural areas are not equipped with preventive measures like lightning diverters to reduce these kinds of tragic events.
Sad! 10 children killed by lighting.— @AaronAinomugisha (@AaronAinomugis3) August 28, 2020
They hail from the villages of Gbuluku and Nyaute, were last evening killed by lightning at a football pitch near Odramacaku trading centre in Anzuu parish Ayivuni Ayivu division Arua City,northern Uganda. pic.twitter.com/FjNWscld5V
BBC News reported that this is the worst accident that Uganda had faced since 2011 when 18 children were killed at a school in the mid-western region. 28 more people died from fatal lightning strikes in a single week in the same year.
The BBC also reported that in February of this year, four mountain gorillas were also hit by lightning resulting in their death. The gorillas, including three adult females and a male infant, were found with "gross lesions" on their bodies hat indicated electrocution in Uganda's Mgahinga National Park. It was labeled as a "big loss for the species" by the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration (GVTC).
Four rare mountain gorillas 'die in Uganda lightning strike' https://t.co/ALt0wROxNB— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) February 8, 2020