Police in south western Uganda are investigating reports that the secret killings by leaders of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God could have been triggered off by the death of one of the leaders, Joseph Kibwetere, in 1999.
Kibwetere, a self-styled prophet of the doomsday cult, and other leaders of the cult - Credonia Mwerinde, Fr. Dominic Kataribaabo, and Fr. John Kasapurari - are held responsible for the death of over 1,000 cult members. Over 400 died in a fire in the cult's church building, March 17, in Kanungu, Rukungiri, and hundreds of other bodies were later found buried in various mass graves associated with the leaders.
A senior police official in Mbarara told The Monitor on condition of anonymity, April 28, that Kibwetere could have died between October and December 1999, triggering off disagreements amongst the rest of the cult leaders.
The official said none of the cult's documents retrieved from Kanungu and other places had Kibwetere's signature. "All documents show [Mwerinde] Credonia's signature," he said. He added that some of the documents bear imitations of Kibwetere's signature, "indicating that the signing used to be done by two people".
The official added that information gathered from former followers of the cult now indicates that Kibwetere was not seen at least for six months prior to the fateful March 17 inferno.
"It seems that in the last days, Kataribabo and Credonia [Mwerinde] were fully in charge. For instance, she was the one doing all activities like the purchasing of items for their last supper," the official said.
Government issued warrants both locally and internationally, for the arrest of the leaders, who are suspected to be in hiding.