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Russian doomsday sect leave cave: report

world Updated: Apr 01, 2008 13:40 IST

AFP
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Fourteen members of a doomsday sect have left a cave in central Russia after almost five months waiting underground for the end of the world, leaving 14 more behind, Interfax news agency reported.

"Two cells collapsed on Tuesday. As a result 14 people came to the surface, including two children," deputy Penza region governor Oleg Melnichenko told the news agency. He said 14 people remained underground.

Thirty-five members of the Orthodox sect, including four children, barricaded themselves in the cave five months ago to await the Apocalypse, which they calculated would come in May 2008.

During talks with officials in recent months, cult members had threatened to blow themselves up with gas canisters if police tried to get them out by force.

After part of the cave collapsed last week, seven cult members came out following negotiations with their leader, Pyotr Kuznetsov, who stayed on the surface when his followers went into the cave.

Russian authorities on Monday brought in a priest specialising in apocalyptic literature to persuade the sect members to come out, Interfax reported.

Kuznetsov, who was released from a psychiatric hospital, took part in talks with the cult members again on Monday, Vesti television station reported.