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Monday, September 20, 1999 Published at 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK

World: Africa

Police swoop on Ugandan cult

Police in Uganda have raided the headquarters of a so-called doomsday cult, following allegations that members were involved in rape and kidnap.

The raid followed complaints by people living near the compound of the World Message Last Warning Church in the central Ugandan town of Luwero.

The cult had predicted that the world would end last June, but have adjusted their forecast to next year.

As police with rifles and tear gas broke into the compound which is fenced and closed off to outsiders, angry community leaders set fire to 200 huts.

Police said they found seven girls who had been sexually assaulted, three boys being held against their will and 18 unidentified shallow graves.

Selling belongings

The cult - which has about 1,000 members - is led by self-styled "prophet" Wilson Bushara, who fled the compound during the police raid.

It was founded four years ago and almost a third of the membership is made up of children.

Under the terms of joining the church, members sell all their belongings and give the proceeds to Mr Bushara.

Police arrested three people, one of whom has been charged with unlawful sex.

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