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3 Apr, 2008 12:37

Doomsday cult members silent and defiant – again

The Doomsday cult members locked in an underground hideaway in Russia's Penza region have vowed to stay silent and have stopped all negotiations with officials. Earlier their leader, Pyotr Kuznetsov, diagnosed as clinically insane, made a suicide attempt.

Oleg Melnichenko, Vice Governor of Penza region, said the rescuers and the authorities have lost contact with the cult members.

“They said they aren't ready to take decisions and have vowed to stay silent. They probably perceived the suicide attempt of their leader as a kind of sign.”

Kuznetsov reportedly tried to beat himself to death with a wooden club.

Melnichenko noted that the main result of the activities in the last three days is that all the children have been taken to safety. “So we are not responsible for the fate of the cult members, even though we took all safety measures,” he added.

A woman and two children emerged on Wednesday, leaving eleven people below ground.

The group has been shut away since the end of October, awaiting the end of the world, which it believes will come in May. Psychologists, rescuers, Orthodox priests and other cult members, including the group’s leader, Pyotr Kuznetsov, have been trying to persuade them to come out.