Religious Sect Triggers Massacre in Congo

KINSHASA, Congo, FEB. 6, 2002 ( A massacre by members of a religious sect in late January left more than 100 dead near Doruma, the Misna missionary agency reported today.

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At one point during the tragedy that unfolded Jan. 22-25, a number of villagers were locked in a house that was then set ablaze.

Sources told Misna that the massacre began Jan. 22 when someone by the name of Simon, leader of a religious sect and self-proclaimed prophet and envoy of God, tried to force some villagers to join his group.

The residents spurned the idea, and Simon proceeded to kidnap one of them. When fellow villagers tried to release him, there was a violent clash that ended with some dead and wounded.

A few days later, Simon and his men organized a punishment expedition. An unknown number of villagers were locked in a small house, and the sect´s leader ordered that it be set on fire.

The dead included women and children. The sect leader has fled to Sudan.

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