Following the grim discovery in Kenya of the bodies of at least 73 suspected cult members believed to have starved themselves to death, we take a look at other notorious killer cults.
914 dead, jungle apocalypse in Guyana
In one of the most dramatic mass murder suicides in modern history, 914 adults and children of an American sect died in the jungles of the small South American country of Guyana on November 18, 1978.
They were led to their deaths by a charismatic American preacher, Jim Jones, who forced members of his Peoples Temple sect to commit “revolutionary suicide”, urging parents to poison their children, while others were shot when they tried to flee or were forced to drink. the deadly liquid.
Jones, who had brought his followers to Guyana from San Francisco to prevent a crackdown on the cult by US authorities, was found dead with a gunshot to the head. It was never determined whether he committed suicide or was shot.
More than 700 dead in Uganda
Another of the world’s worst cult-related massacres occurred in the Kanungu district of southwestern Uganda in 2000, where some 700 members of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God were burned to death.
Members of the sect, who believed the world would end at the end of the millennium, were locked in a church, with the doors and windows nailed shut from the outside.
The building was then set on fire.
The cult leaders, suspected of their deaths, were never found.
Waco siege: Nearly 80 killed
In 1993, 76 cult members in Waco, Texas, including 20 children, died in a fire at their wooden fort when it was stormed by federal agents after a 51-day siege.
David Koresh, the charismatic leader of the Branch Davidian cult – which broke away from the Seventh-day Adventist Church – died along with many of his followers.
US authorities had accused the group of stockpiling weapons and obtained an arrest warrant for Koresh and a search warrant for the compound, resulting in the tense weeks-long standoff.
1994: Sun Temple
In October 1994, the bodies of 48 members of the doomsday Solar Temple sect, including its leaders, were found in the Swiss villages of Cheiry and Granges-sur-Salvan.
In total, more than 70 members of the cult founded by a homeopathic healer died, including 10 people who lived in the Canadian province of Quebec and 16 people whose charred bodies were found in the Vercors mountains of southeastern France.
Notes left by some members suggested a mass suicide, but investigators said as many as two-thirds of the dead could have been murder.
Heaven’s Gate Poisoning
In 1997, 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate sect in San Diego, California participated in a mass suicide by poisoning that coincided with the arrival of the Hale-Bopp comet, as it signaled their departure from Earth.
Among the dead was cult co-founder Marshall Applewhite.
Bonnie Nettles, the cult’s other founder who believed members could transform themselves into immortal aliens by rejecting their human nature, died of cancer in 1985.
Japanese sarin gas attack
Doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo was behind a notorious attack in Japan in 1995, in which members released toxic sarin gas into the Tokyo subway system, killing 13 people and sickening thousands more.
The chemical was released in liquid form at five locations during rush hour, causing commuters to struggle to get out of trains to breathe.
At the cult’s headquarters near Mount Fuji, authorities found a plant capable of producing enough sarin to kill millions.
Thirteen Aum members, including the cult’s leader, Shoko Asahara, were executed for the crime.
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