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Survivors recall cult massacre

Publish date: 23 March 2020
Issue Number: 865
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Uganda

Twenty years after a massacre at a Ugandan church, survivors have recalled the ordeal. At least 700 members of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God – a doomsday cult that believed the world would come to an end at the turn of the millennium lost their lives. ‘The end of present times’, as one of its books phrased it, came two-and-a-half months later, on 17 March 2000. No-one has been prosecuted in connection with the massacre and the six cult leaders, which included a former sex worker, have never been found. BBC News reports that Interpol issued notices for their arrest shortly after the massacre. Judith Ariho, who joined the cult when she was 10, said 'we did everything possible to avoid sin'. 'Sometimes, if you sinned, they would command you to recite the rosary 1 000 times.' Anna Kabeireho, who still lives on a hillside that overlooks the land that the cult owned, has not forgotten the smell that engulfed the valley after the massacre. ‘Everything was covered in smoke, soot and the stench of burnt flesh,’ she recalls.

Full BBC News report