Members of a religious organisation whose leaders are believed to be remnants of Uganda's Kanungu doomsday cult, have invaded Lugari district of western Kenya, reportedly causing panic among the residents and concern to the government.
(...) Members who escaped a government crackdown are suspected to have seeped into Kenya and established massive following under a different name in the western districts of the country.
(...) A recent report by human rights groups operating in western Kenya and eastern Uganda, warned that an emerging religious group calling itself ''Choma,'' Swahili for ''burn,'' could be an off-shoot of the Kanungu sect. The report was released in the eastern Ugandan town of Mbale by Valentiana Moses Aleico of the Uganda Human Rights Group and the group's western Kenya Executive Director, Job Bwonya. Aleico told journalists that Choma had beliefs and practices markedly similar to those of the Kanungu cult.
Kenya Haunted By Strange Sect, Panafrican News Agency, Dec. 7, 2000
Suspected remnants of a Ugandan doomsday cult, the so-called Restoration of the Ten Commandments, have reportedly surfaced in Kenya and pulled a massive following in the Western Province.
The People's Daily, published in Nairobi, Monday reported that a religious group, toting similar beliefs that the doomsday cult conveyed in Uganda, was advising its members to sell their properties and share proceeds with other members.
Quoting a report from human rights groups operating in western Kenya and eastern Uganda, the paper warned in its lead story that the emerging religious group, calling itself 'Choma', could be a reincarnation of the northern Uganda sect that led to mass murder of over 1,000 people in April.
Choma is a Kiswahili word for burn.
Human rights officials revealed that after three months research, their two organisations established that the cult in Kenya is attracting members daily due to its strange beliefs and practices.
One of its closely guarded secrets is the identity of the sect leader. It is not to be revealed until after 31 December, when sect members believe the world will come to an end.
Government security officials in the Western Province have confirmed receiving a copy of the report from the human rights groups but downplayed its concerns.
Kyalo, however, urged residents to volunteer information on the alleged cult's activities to the police and promised thorough investigation.
Twenty-two followers of the cult, interviewed by the human rights groups, are said to have confessed living in fear of being led to mass suicide by 31 December.
Some of the practices which link Choma to the Ugandan doomsday cult include the claim that 31 December would mark the end of the world, selling all their property and sharing it with cult leaders, and belief that human beings should not toil, go to school or to hospital.
Human rights groups estimate that the church has a membership of close to 20,000 including children who drop out of school soon after their parents join the sect.
Ugandan Doomsday Cult Surfaces In Kenya, Panafrican News Agency (Kenya), July 31, 2000