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BBC Washington Correspondent James Reynolds
"The film will now be examined by an outside company"
 real 28k

Monday, 20 March, 2000, 18:35 GMT
Waco re-enactment 'clears' FBI
Waco fire, 1993
The 1993 Waco siege ended dramatically
A re-enactment of the final hour of the1993 Waco siege in which about 80 cult members died clears the FBI of wrong-doing, say US Government lawyers.

The re-enactment was intended to find out whether FBI agents fired shots into the Branch Davidian cult's compound at Waco in Texas, as claimed by the cult's lawyers.

Washington has always denied the FBI acted illegally.

Government lawyer Mike Bradford told reporters on Monday that a preliminary review of the results of the test at Fort Hood had now been completed.

"While this was a preliminary examination - we will obviously be doing a much more detailed examination of the results - we are very pleased with the results we have seen so far," Mr Bradford said.

But a Branch Davidian lawyer said he was frustrated as the images were not as clear as the originals in 1993.

Sunlight or gunfire?

The re-enactment was ordered by a court to try to establish whether flashes clearly seen on the original infra-red pictures were caused by gunfire or were simply flashes of sunlight.

The test took place at an army base in Texas on Sunday using a Royal Navy helicopter with the same kind of infra-red camera used in the original incident.

The 51-day Waco siege started in February 1993 when federal agents tried to enter a compound occupied by the Davidian cult, led by David Koresh.

The siege ended when police stormed the compound, and a fire broke out which killed at least 80 people inside, including Koresh.

Lawyers for the survivors have brought a wrongful death suit against the FBI, saying that despite denials, agents fired into the compound and so prevented the escape of women and children.

The film will now be examined by an outside company, the UK-based Vecta Data Systems, which will report on its findings within 30 days.

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18 Mar 00 | Africa
When devotion means death
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