Uganda police say final cult death toll is 780

Reuters/July 20, 2000

KAMPALA, July 20 (Reuters) - Ugandan police said on Thursday the final death toll from a doomsday cult massacre and mass suicide earlier this year was 780.

Hundreds of members of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments were burnt alive in a church in Kanungu, western Uganda, in March.

Police believe cult leaders systematically killed another 400 of their followers after a prediction that the world would end at the start of 2000 failed to come true.

"According to police pathologists, 780 people died not only in the church but in the other graves we unearthed around the country,'' police spokesman Assuman Mugenyi told Reuters. He gave no further details, but said they were convinced they had discovered all the graves.

The last grave, in which 55 corpses were discovered, was unearthed at the end of April in a Kampala house previously rented by one of the cult's leaders, ``Father'' Dominic Kataribabo.

Arrest warrants have been issued for six cult leaders, including Kataribabo, although police admit they do not know if they are still alive or perished in the Kanungu blaze.

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