Doomsday Cult Murders Hit 840 As More Bodies Are Dug Up

Africa News Online, Panafrican News Agency, March 30, 2000

Kampala, Uganda (PANA) - Another 53 bodies were Wednesday found in a room of one of the cult leaders, bringing the number of the dead recovered from various mass graves as well as those who perished in the mid-March inferno at Kanungu, in this bizarre doomsday cult murders in south-western Uganda, to over 840.

Police spokesman, Asuman Mugenyi, said the bodies, found in the bedroom of Dominic Kataribabo, bore signs that indicated that the victims were strangled or poisoned.

Bottles believed to have contained the poison were found in the grave and banana leaves were thrown at the bottom of the grave. Meanwhile, police in Kampala are holding a district official who worked in Kanungu but was in 1999 transferred to Rakai district, southern Uganda, in connection with the doomsday inferno.

Assistant resident district commissioner Rev. Amooti Mutazindwa was arrested Wednesday around Masaka, southern Uganda, for questioning.

He becomes the first suspect to be arrested in connection with the Kanungu incident in which over 500 followers of the cult barricaded themselves in a church and set themselves ablaze.

Mutazindwa is reported by locals in Kanungu, the headquarters of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God, to have had close links with the cult leadership. He, together with top district leaders in Rukingiri, had been invited by the cult leaders to the opening of a new church building 18 March, a day after the fire.

Mutazindwa, who was initially feared dead or missing after the inferno, said in a hand written press release Tuesday that he is "alive and working normally."

He denied any association with the cult. "It is true I left the station on 11 March for a farewell programme for my former station, Kanungu, but I returned back and I am working normally," the local press quoted Mutazindwa as saying.

President Yoweri Museveni, at a news conference last week, hinted without giving names that a certain district official had ignored a report from a security operative that the cult was a security threat and that the official would be investigated.

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