Pathologists Examine Bodies Exhumed In Kampala

Africa News Online, April 29, 2000

Kampala, Uganda (PANA) - Pathologists have been examining the bodies of 55 people murdered in Kampala by the "Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God" cult to determine the causes of death.

The bodies were exhumed Thursday from a mass grave in a garage at a house formerly rented by the cult leader, Fr. Dominic Kataribabo, in Mawanga village, Makindye Division a Kampala city suburb.

Fr. Kataribabo had rented the house until two days before the Kanungu inferno that killed more than 500 cult followers in western Uganda.

Bodies of 22 women, 15 men, eight boys and 10 girls, the youngest of whom was eight months were exhumed. The house has two bedrooms and a garage. Three pathologists and 20 Kampala City Council workers from the cemetery department dug up the graves to unearth the bodies.

Doomsday cult leaders -- Joseph Kibwetere, Credonia Mwerinde, Dominic Kataribabo, Ursula Komuhanbi and John Mary Kasapurali are believed to have masterminded the 17 March Kanungu fire incident in which over 500 people were burnt to death in western Uganda.

Police have since dug out another 500 more bodies buried in secret mass graves at various camps owned by the cult in western Uganda. But the exercise was stopped due to lack of equipment.

On Thursday, security personnel barred people including journalists from reaching the scene where the bodies were being exhumed near Kampala. But they were later allowed to tour the place in the evening after the exercise was over.

Inside the garage, the bodies had been buried in a mass grave, which comprised of three pits. The occupants of the house had started rearing chicken on top of the grave.

"After burying the bodies, they sprinkled coffee husks over it. They also erected a shade for rearing chicken," police spokesman Asman Mugenyi told journalists.

"The bodies are likely to have been in the grave for not less than a month. There were no signs of strangulation," Mugenyi said.

He said other houses that were occupied by the cult members would be searched. He could not say when the police would resume the exhumation of more bodies in western Uganda.

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