Officials "sat on" Uganda cult reports - Museveni

Reuters, March 30, 2000

LONDON, March 30, 2000 (Reuters) - Ugandan intelligence agents warned of the dangers of a Christian Doomsday cult before at least 800 of its followers died but the reports never got beyond local officials, President Yoweri Museveni said on a visit to Britain.

"Some intelligence officers filed reports saying that this is a dangerous group but at one level it was not forwarded, it was just ignored," Museveni told the BBC late on Wednesday.

His statement came as authorities in Uganda said they had arrested a local government official for suspected links with the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God.

Museveni said neither he nor any of his senior security officials had received the information, which he said was "sat on" by regional administrators.

An inquiry would examine why the reports were not forwarded, he said.

However, Museveni said the group's "cover that they were religious people" explained why authorities in the heavily populated area did not notice the disappearance of hundreds of their followers.

Uganda's Internal Affairs Minister Edward Rugumayo said police had arrested Reverend Amooti Mutazindwa, an assistant district commissioner in southwest Uganda, for allegedly suppressing an intelligence report that suggested the cult posed a threat.

Although Mutazindwa is not a leading suspect, he is the first person to be arrested in connection with the deaths within the group that operated throughout southwest Uganda.

Police have found about 800 bodies of former cult members, including more than 100 children, who appear to have been killed by their leaders after a prediction that the world would end at the end of the millennium failed to come true.

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