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1 Apr, 2008 01:51

Cult leader joins Doomsday appeal

In a dramatic turn of events, the Doomsday cult leader who convinced 35 followers to lock themselves underground is now telling them to get out. Pyotr Kuznetsov had been placed in mental care but has returned to the central Russian site to help end the fo

Spring floodwaters have caused part of the bunker's roof to collapse.

“We managed to pump water out of the bunker and to set up a ventilator-pipe. It guarantees that in case the main entrance caves in, people will get enough air. We gave them all necessary materials and they carried out the work inside the cave to fortify the construction. All possible measures against a threat of a cave in have been taken. I don’t think that anything horrible will happen in the near future,” Oleg Melnichenko, Deputy Governor of Penza region said.

Local authorities had been warning that flood waters were gradually deteriorating the hide-out. Police and rescuers have been placed on guard outside the cave.

The leader of the Doomsday cultists Pyotr Kuznetsov had been confirmed mentally unfit and was kept in an asylum in Penza. However, he has been released from hospital and brought to the site to help negotiators persuade the cultists to leave their bunker.

Thirty five people, including four children – went underground last November.They were planning to stay there until May, when they claimed Apocalypse would happen.

Doomsday Cult history

The group spent one and a half months digging the cave, where they planned to wait for the end of the world.

TThe founder of the doomsday sect, Pyotr Kuznetsov, oversaw the preparations and made sure the cult members had enough food to last them for a while.

Kuznetsov himself did not go down, saying he had another mission to complete on earth.

For several months, the only sign of life underground was the steam coming out of ventilation pipes.

With a bit of effort, one could also hear snippets of conversation.

Police established a 24-hour patrol of the area, which was sealed off.

Intense negotiations which involved local authorities, orthodox priests, and relatives of those underground, proved fruitless.