8 April 2012

Nigeria: Church Collapses, Kills 22 in Benue

Collapsed church in Benue.

Twenty-two people were killed and 31 others were injured in Benue state when their church building caved in on them during Easter vigil, a government spokesman said Sunday.

"Following a heavy downpour and storm Saturday night, the building of St Robert's Catholic Church in Adamgbe collapsed, killing 22 worshippers while 31 others sustained various degrees of injury," Cletus Akwaya told AFP.

Fourteen of those killed were women while six others were children, including a two-year-old, he said on telephone.

"It was an outdoor Easter vigil service but within the church premises. When the rain poured down, followed by a storm, the about 3,000 worshippers ran and crammed into the church and the building collapsed, killing 22 of them," said the spokesman.

The storm first blew off the roof of the church and its wall caved in, he said, adding that the bodies have been taken to a state hospital morgue in Vandeikya, a major city near the scene of the tragedy.

The deputy governor of the state, Stephen Lawani, visited relatives of the victims on Sunday to offer his condolences, Akwaya said.

The Benue church tragedy comes on the heels of a bomb blast in Kaduna, which killed at least 36 people on Sunday morning.

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