FBI Hunt For Cult Leaders

Africa News Online, New Vision (Kampala), March 29, 2000

Kampala - American FBI detectives are among experts from eight European and African countries that have joined forces to hunt down the perpetrators of the Kanungu massacre in which at least 500 people died in a church blaze. Felix Osike quotes a highly-placed source as saying "experts from at least eight countries had expressed willingness to investigate the massacres and trace the whereabouts of any surviving cult leaders." Hundreds of the followers of the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God died in a fire believed to have been masterminded by the cult leaders.

Sources said investigators from Britain, the US, Germany, Italy, Kenya, South Africa and two unnamed countries were expected to play a leading role in the search for the killers.

Interpol Uganda has also contacted their counterparts elsewhere in the world to help in the investigations. Top Uganda CID officers have gone abroad to establish the sect's external financiers.

A former member said cult leaders Father Dominic Kataribaabo and Sister Credonia Mwerinde used to slaughter a baby every Friday morning and drink its blood. The grisly ritual was intended to keep off spirits and the Government from unearthing the cult's criminal activities.

President Museveni recently said the Government would set up a judicial commission of inquiry into the cult and other such groups. Investigators believe that the Kanungu horror was premeditated murder and not mass suicide as had earlier been thought.

Forensic experts said some of the bodies dug out from the mass graves had stab wounds and pieces of rolled and knotted cloth tied around their necks. Sources said they believed some of the leaders could have survived and fled the country.

"We have informed some of the countries, the borders and the airports have been put on the alert," said a source.

Investigators at some of the foreign capitals are also in possession of portraits of the cult leaders. Sources said some of the countries, which had agents of the doomsday sect, have also volunteered information.

Reports said cult chief Joseph Kibwetere and assistant Credonia Mwerinde fled Kanungu the night before the fire. The Police are expected to circulate their portraits to other Interpol agencies.

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