Doomsday cult regroups in Rakai for feast, says RDC

Security has been beefed up in Rakai to counteract a feast organised by the surviving members of the Kanungu doomsday cult who are regrouping in the district.

RDC Mary Frances Owor yesterday said the leader of the cult in Rakai, Sodona Kehuki Kyinkuhaire, 62, is a relative and a close associate of one of the leaders of the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God, Joseph Kibwetere.

About 530 followers, including children, perished in the Kanungu church inferno recently.

She said Kyinkuhaire arrived at Mbuye Catholic Parish in Lwanda sub- county on Saturday, a day after the mass suicide in Kanungu in Rukungiri district. The Mbuye feast, scheduled to last for two days, will coincide with the commemoration of the appearance of angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary to announce that she would be the mother of Jesus, according to invitations to the cult members.

The RDC said a team of security investigators from Kampala and the district had visited Mbuye and confirmed from a priest there that several followers had started arriving for the Friday celebrations.

The church and a separate shrine for Virgin Mary were built by the area MP, Gabriel Lukwago, who was a follower. The RDC said there was no information to suggest that Lukwago was an active cult member.

Owor said Kyinkuhaire, who is the overall leader in Uganda, took over from Speciosa Mukantabana, a Rwandan, who claimed to have had Mary’s vision. She has a big group of followers.

The RDC said many followers of the Kanungu cult were expected to arrive from Mbarara, Rukungiri, Kampala, Rwanda and other places.

Security officials on Wednesday found Kyinkuhaire at the shrine but she refused to talk to them and local officials.

But she said she was related to Kibwetere. She also said she was once employed by Mrs. Janet Museveni, wife of the President, at a children’s NGO in Masuuliita.

By last evening, security investigators sought facts from the remnants of the Kanungu cult leaders said to be hiding in Rakai.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday March 24, 2000.
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