More Russian doomsday sect members emerge from cave

April 1st, 2008 - 5:22 pm ICT by admin  

RIA Novosti
Penza (Russia), April 1 (RIA Novosti) Fourteen members of a doomsday sect emerged Tuesday from their underground shelter in central Russia hours after most of the remaining roof of the cave collapsed. A third group of 14 people, including two children and an eight-month-old baby, is still underground, according to regional authorities.

The sect dug their hideout in the Penza region last year and went underground in November to await the end of the world, which they expected in May.

The regional administration’s spokesman, Anton Sharonov, told RIA Novosti: “At 7:14 a.m. [0414 GMT] the collapse (of the roof) occurred. Due to the critical situation, the authorities again asked the hermits to leave their cave. At 9:45 a group of 14 came to the surface.”

Seven women had left the shelter Saturday.

The 14 sect members who came out Tuesday turned down medical help, Penza Deputy Governor Oleg Melnichenko said.

The group, named True Russian Orthodox Church, was founded by Pyotr Kuznetsov, known to his followers as Father Pyotr.

Kuznetsov, who is being held in an asylum in Penza since November, was declared mentally unfit to stand trial last Wednesday.

He was earlier charged with inciting religious and racial hatred. He said he had not joined the group underground because he had “another mission in life.”

Rescue workers earlier announced that the shelter, dug out by the sect members over a period of one and half months, was in danger of collapsing entirely as water had weakened the structure.
RIA Novosti

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