Uganda police find at least 30 bodies in cult grave

Africa News Online, The Monitor (Kampala), March 27, 2000

RUGAZI, Uganda, March 27, 2000 (Reuters) - Ugandan police have discovered the bodies of at least 30 people, including five children, in what appears to be another mass grave of members of a local Doomsday cult, witnesses said on Monday.

Police said there appeared to be many more bodies buried in the ground behind the house of prominent cult leader "Father" Dominic Kataribabo.

If confirmed, this would bring to nearly 700 the number of known victims of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God, whose leaders apparently began to kill members after a prophecy that the world would end on December 31, 1999 failed to come true.

Last week, police found 153 bodies under a building used by the movement in the nearby village of Buhunga, many of whom had apparently been clubbed, strangled or hacked to death in recent weeks.

Both finds were under 80 km (50 miles) from Kanungu, where some 500 members of the sect died when their church burned down earlier this month.

Police initially treated the Kanungu fire as a mass suicide, but now say it looks more like the culmination of a systematic policy of killing cult members.

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