Mass suicides a recurrent world phenomenon
Reuters, March 18, 2000
LONDON, March 18, 2000 (Reuters) - At least 100 members of a Ugandan
Doomsday cult died in a ritual mass suicide on Friday, police said on
Following is a list of some of the previous mass suicides over the past
March 23, 1997 - Police in Saint Casimir, Quebec, found the charred bodies
of three women and two men inside a house owned by a member of the Solar
Temple, an international sect that believes death by ritualized suicide
leads to rebirth in a place called "Sirius."
Police identified the dead as two French women, two Swiss men and a Canadian
woman and said they included the house owner, his wife and her mother. The
bodies of the five were found in a bedroom, laid out on a bed in the form of
December 1995 - 16 Solar Temple members were found dead in a burned house
outside Grenoble, in the French Alps. Two French police officers were among
the 16 dead.
October 1994 - Police found the burned bodies of 48 Solar Temple members in
a farmhouse and three chalets in Switzerland. At the same time in Quebec,
five bodies, including that of an infant, were found in a chalet in Morin
Heights, a picturesque village in the Laurentians ski resort area north of
October 1993 - 53 hill tribe villagers in a remote Vietnamese hamlet
committed mass suicide with flintlock guns and other primitive weapons in
the belief they would go straight to heaven. Officials said they were the
victims of a scam devised by a blind local man Ca Van Liem, who received big
cash donations in return for promising a speedy road to paradise.
April 19, 1993 - At least 70 Branch Davidian cult members died after fire
and a shoot-out with police and federal agents ended a 51-day siege of the
compound near Waco, Texas.
David Koresh, leader of the Waco group, died of a gunshot wound to the head
sometime during the blaze. A baby-faced rock guitarist from Dallas, Koresh
had preached a messianic gospel of sex, freedom and revolution and told his
followers he was Jesus Christ.
December 1991 - Mexican police blamed a minister's fervent belief in God for
his death and that of 29 followers who suffocated when he told them to keep
praying and ignore toxic fumes filling their church. Ramon Morales Almazan
shouted at his followers to remain calm as they began to choke, vomit and
November 18, 1978 - Paranoid U.S. pastor, the Rev. Jim Jones, led 914
followers to their deaths at Jonestown, Guyana, by drinking a cyanide-laced
fruit drink. Cult members who refused to swallow the liquid were shot. Jones
had carved a sign over his altar at Jonestown, reading "Those who forget the
past are doomed to repeat it."
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