The Associated Press
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March 31, 2000, Friday, AM cycle
1:18 PM Eastern Time
SECTION: International News
LENGTH: 440 words
cult-related mass killings
BYLINE: By The Associated Press
Ugandan police say more than 900 deaths have been linked to a Christian
cult there. Other deadly
- On March 26, 1997, in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., 39 members of a
Heaven's Gate were found dead at a rented mansion. They had poisoned themselves with a
mixture of applesauce, vodka and barbiturates. The cultists left a video
message saying they were shedding their
"earthly containers" to join a spaceship trailing the Hale Bopp comet.
- On March 22, 1997, in St. Casimir, Quebec, five members of the Order of the
Solar Temple die in a fiery mass suicide.
Cult devotees believe suicide transports them to a new life on a planet called
- On Dec. 23, 1995, 16 members of the Order of the Solar Temple were found dead
in a burned house outside Grenoble, in the French Alps. Most of the bodies were
arranged in a star shape on the floor.
- On Oct. 5, 1994, Swiss authorities found the bodies of 48 people linked to
cult in a farmhouse and three chalets, all consumed by fire. Five more bodies were
found the same year in Morin Heights, north of Montreal.
- On April 19, 1993, Branch Davidian
leader David Koresh and 80 followers - including 18 children - died by fire or
gunfire, six hours after the FBI started filling their
cult compound near Waco, Texas, with tear gas. Federal officials called the deaths
a mass suicide, but Branch Davidians are pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit
against the government.
- On Dec. 13, 1990, in Tijuana, Mexico, 12 people die in a religious ritual,
apparently after drinking a poisoned sacrament. It was never clearly
established if this was a suicide and authorities speculated the deaths might
have been accidental. They said some kind of industrial alcohol, perhaps
rubbing alcohol, was poured into a fruit punch the participants shared during
the religious ceremony.
-On Aug. 29, 1987, in Yongin, South Korea, the bodies of 32
people were found in a factory attic after they took drugs and strangled each
other. Authorities said factory owner Park Soon-ja, who died with the group,
"Benevolent Mother" and had claimed God told her to seek disciples. Her sect preached that the
world was about to come to an end.
- On Nov. 18, 1978, in Jonestown, Guyana, more than 900 followers of the Rev.
Jim Jones died after he ordered them to drink cyanide-laced grape punch. Jones,
who was found dead with a bullet wound in the head, led the Peoples Temple in
San Francisco and moved it to Guyana. In the United States, the Peoples Temple
ran a free clinic, a drug rehabilitation program and performed other charitable
LOAD-DATE: March 31, 2000
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