KAMPALA, Sept 20, 1999 (Reuters) - Ugandan police have arrested hundreds of members of a millennium doomsday cult and charged several with rape and kidnapping, a police spokesman said on Monday.
Leaders of the World Message Last Warning Church had originally predicted the world would end in June, but adjusted their forecast to next year when doomsday failed to arrive on time.
Around 1,000 followers sold all their belongings, gave the proceeds to cult leader Wilson Bushara and set up camp near the central Ugandan town of Luwero.
Police said they had taken the cult members to Luwero for questioning on Saturday, charged seven with defilement of girls under 18 years old, and charged others with rape, theft, kidnapping and illegal confinement.
The state-owned New Vision newspaper said the cult members, who included men, women and children from neighbouring Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, had been having communal sex in the camp.
Police spokesman Eric Naigambi said Bushara and other cult leaders had evaded capture and were now on the run from police