No arrests two years after Uganda's cult massacre

Two years after 700 cult followers were killed in Uganda, police have failed to make any arrests.

The followers were part of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God.

Police spokesman Asuman Mugenyi today told AFP that all appeals and arrest warrants sent to national and international security agencies had failed to yield results.

Two cult leaders, Joseph Kibwetere, 70, and Credonia Mwerinde, 50, are believed to have survived the blaze at the Kanungu doomsday church in western Uganda on March 17, 2000, where 500 people were incinerated.

They are believed to be still on the run.

Another leader, Dominic Kataribabo, 64, an ex-Roman Catholic priest, is thought to have died in the fire, which was one of the world's worst cult-related massacres.

"We do not have the slightest idea as to where the wanted persons live. They are still on the wanted list because we believe they are still on the run," Mugenyi said.

"We maintain active contacts with Interpol and other national security agencies on this."

The Ugandan government has yet to give an official explanation on events that led to the cult deaths.

The inquiry it promised over the incident has not got off the ground due to lack of funds.

The cult leaders killed followers of their movement, allegedly after predicting the world would end on December 31, 1999.

A study by the Makerere University Department of Religious Study said cult leaders told followers that "darkness would cover the world for three days from December 29" and that only cult members gathered at their camp would be saved.

But when the year 2000 arrived without incident, discontent engulfed the camp, the study said.

"A chaotic situation developed in the camp, the golden rule of silence was broken, all work stopped, members became disloyal and started to mix freely with outsiders," the study said.

But the leaders were not done.

They told discontented followers that the Virgin Mary had appeared before them and extended the "date for the end of the world".

Followers were instructed to go back to their homes and wait for the call to return to be taken to heaven.

Later, the leaders said the Virgin Mary had extended the date by two months, to March 17, 2000, the day they planned the carnage.

Bodies were later discovered underneath houses owned by the cult, garrotted, mutilated or poisoned.

Some 153 bodies were found at Rutooma in Rukungiri district on March 25, 2002, 155 in Rugazi in Bushenyi on March 27, 81 in Rushojwa, Rukungiri, on March 30, and 55 in Buziga near Kampala on April 27.