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Lightning Kills 11 in Soccer Game

October 28, 1998 GMT

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) _ Lightning killed 11 members of a Congolese soccer team and injured dozens more people during a weekend match, the Congolese news agency reported.

The lightning bolt wiped out all the players on the home team in the village of Bena Tshadi, in the south-central Congolese province of Eastern Kasai, the Congolese Press Agency said.

The report could not be independently confirmed.

Local investigators blameda the lightning bolt on witchcraft because none of the players on the opposing team from nearby Basangana village were injured, the agency reported Tuesday.

Sorcery is often used in the region in an attempt to influence soccer games.

The two teams were tied 1-1 when the lightning struck.

More than 30 people, most of the them standing along the sidelines, were injured by the lightning, but none of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening, the report said.

Witchcraft is often blamed throughout west and central Africa to explain natural phenomenon and illness.

In South Africa over the weekend, six players from a local team were hurt when lightning struck the playing field during a thunderstorm.