A devastating lightning strike on high-voltage power lines has killed at least 20 people in the Republic of Congo. The incident happened in the capital, Brazzaville on the country’s first day of lockdown to stem the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Stella Mensah Saddou Nguessso, the mayor of Kintele district, where the incident occurred told the BBC the falling cables electrocuted about 20 people observing the lockdown.
The country has recorded about 22 confirmed cases of the deadly coronavirus including two deaths.
Eyewitnesses who spoke to the BBC said one of the lines fell on houses, setting it ablaze and killing its occupants. Another cable struck a pool of water in a courtyard, electrocuting neighbors as heavy rains had been pouring in the Kintele district for hours.
Local media reports that due to the unavailability of enough ambulances, some of the dead and injured were transported to the hospital in private vehicles.
Meanwhile, Jacques Joaquim Yhombi-Opango, former president of the Republic of Congo has succumbed to the deadly contagion which has killed more than 44,000 globally with about 900,000 being diagnosed with the virus. Some 190,000 have recovered, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
Yhombi-Opango died in a Paris hospital on Monday. He was 81. AFP news agency reported that Yhombi-Opango was ill before he contracted the virus.
He led Congo-Brazzaville from 1977 until he was toppled in 1979, by the country’s current leader, Denis Sassou Nguesso. Born in 1939 in the country’s northern Cuvette region, Yhombi-Opango was an army officer who rose to power after the assassination of President Marien Ngouabi.