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Cult enters bunkers though doomsday uneventful

Antony Gitonga / Reuters | September 14 2006

Kenyan followers of a U.S.-based religious sect which predicted the world would end after a September 12 outbreak of nuclear war moved into bunkers on Wednesday despite the failure of their prediction.

Dozens of members of the House of Yahweh -- dressed in gas masks, gloves and long overcoats -- have built a network of underground hideouts in the small highland village of Mauche.

They have stocked the bunkers with dried fermented flour meant to feed them for a year, by which time sinners would have been wiped off the Earth, according to their beliefs.

"Those who have been doubting us will in hours be ashamed and if the effect of the war is not felt here, then let the police arrest us," Mosheh Sang, leader of the sect in Kenya, told journalists while packing sacks of flour into a bunker.

"We shall stay in the bunkers for a period of one year."

According to Sang, a nuclear war between the United States and North Korea only failed to kick off Tuesday as expected due to difference in international time zones.

"Members of our sect who are in the U.S. will not be affected as they are protected by Yahweh," Sang added.

According to its web site www.yahweh.com, the group was founded in Abilene, Texas.

"September 12...You need to put this date on your bathroom mirror. You also need to make preparations for the dark days ahead, which will affect every person on earth," the site says.

"There is a place of safety but like their unbelief in the Sabbath, the world will not believe this message, neither will they repent of their sins of murder, fornication, or theft. You need to start training now in the ways of Yahweh."

Kenyan authorities have been closely watching sect members to avoid a repeat of the aftermath of an unfulfilled prophecy in Uganda when more than 900 members of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments were burned alive in 2000. Police said they were worried that the bunkers could cave in despite followers of the cult erecting supporting wooden pillars in the six-by-ten foot bunkers. Underground water was seeping into the hideouts which police said would weaken the structures.

"Though there is freedom of worship in the country, our fears are that the members could die not from the so-called nuclear war but by the bunkers caving in," Dominic Karanja, a senior police officer in the area, told reporters.

But the cult's followers said it was Yahweh's (Hebrew for God) way of providing water for them.

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