Indonesia police detained more than 200 members of a Christian doomsday cult today because of fears they might commit mass suicide after their end-of-the-world prophecy failed to come true, police said.
The members of the Communication Forum for Indonesian Christians were later released by authorities in the city of Bandung, about 180km southeast of Jakarta, after a mass suicide was ruled out.
The group of 283 Indonesians was previously little known.
“We had to forcibly evacuate them because it was possible they could commit suicide if their doomsday scenario didn’t happen,” Bandung Police Captain Muhamad Daci said.
The group told police they expected the world to end sometime between 9am and 3pm (1pm AEDT and 7pm AEDT).
Dozens of police and Indonesian troops stormed the building soon after the 3pm deadline passed.
The group initially refused to leave their two-storey house, dubbed the prophet hut, Daci said, complaining that police were to blame for the failed prophecy. But they were eventually taken to police headquarters for questioning.
The group’s leader, Pendeta Sibuea, was already in police custody on an unrelated matter.