Eighty members of a religious cult in Uganda, who were lured into traveling to Ethiopia and engaging in a dangerous hunger-fasting ritual, have been safely repatriated, according to Ugandan authorities. The cult’s leader, Pastor Simon Opolot, is currently being sought by a joint police operation. This incident comes in the wake of a similar tragedy in Kenya, where hundreds of individuals were allegedly convinced to starve themselves to death.

Cult Believers Traveled to Ethiopia with Extreme Fasting Expectations

The 80 members of the Christ Disciples Church, mostly consisting of teachers and civil servants, reportedly disposed of their possessions earlier this year before embarking on a journey from a rural region in eastern Uganda to southern Ethiopia, covering a distance of approximately 500km (320 miles). Their pastor, Simon Opolot, convinced them that a 40-day fast would lead them to “meet Jesus Christ” on the 41st day, as their world was destined to come to an end.

Ethiopian Authorities Step In as Cult Members Arrive

Upon the Ethiopian authorities’ discovery of the cult members’ arrival in March, immediate action was taken, and they were promptly taken into custody, ensuring their safety until repatriation plans could be organized. Simon Mundeyi, spokesperson for Uganda’s internal affairs ministry, disclosed that the group was already in a weakened state due to the grueling journey undertaken without sustenance.

 Haunting Past Incidents Echo in Uganda and Kenya

This distressing incident brings to mind the haunting tragedy that unfolded in Uganda in 2000 when over 700 members of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God met their demise after being locked inside a church that was later set ablaze. Meanwhile, in Kenya, Pastor Paul Nthenge Mackenzie currently faces detainment, accused of coercing individuals into self-imposed starvation. The nation was left in shock as authorities uncovered over 280 bodies buried in shallow graves within a remote forest.