81 Found In Fifth Grave

Africa News Online, New Vision (Kampala), March 31, 2000

Rushojwa - Ugandan police said here on Thursday they had unearthed a total of 81 bodies, including those of 44 children, on the property of a member of the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God cult.

Twenty-seven girls, 17 boys, 33 women, and three men were among the bodies pulled out from a large hole in the garden of a house belonging to cult member Joseph Nyamurinda. The sex of one of the corpses could not be determined.

Police said there were no other graves at the site, although not all of the property had been examined closely.

The house is located on the edge of the southwestern village of Rushojwa, which is 35 kilometers (22 miles) northeast of Kanungu, where some 400 cult members died in a fire on March 17. The corpses were immediately re-buried nearby after a brief autopsy.

The cult had already been blamed for the deaths of over 700 people in southwest Uganda. Police pathologist Thaddeus Barungi said those found in Rushojwa had died "not more than one month ago. For only two of them I can tell with certainty how they died, by strangulation. For some of the other ones, there are no signs of physical trauma. I suspect poison."

"Some of them, very few, they have (ropes of) dried banana leaves tied around the neck and mainly for the others it is green pieces of cloth twisted and tied around the neck," he said.

The total number of dead so far recovered has reached 929. About 540 were burnt in Kanungu, 153 were recovered elsewhere, 81 were at Kataribaabo's house and 74 in the compound.

Yesterday, another 81 bodies were found in Rushoja by the Police.

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