LANDOWNERS DEMAND KIUNGA CULT BUILDINGS BE REMOVED

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KIUNGA, Papua New Guinea (January 5, 2000 – The Independent)---The landowners of the site of a cargo-cult like movement near Kiunga have taken out a court eviction notice against the movement's leader and a small group of remaining followers.

The movement, called the 'Rainbow Church,' is located about 48 kilometers (29 miles) north of Kiunga and a kilometer in from the Kiunga-Tabubil highway at a place called Kikisram.

The cult leader, Dine Kwekwe, called the 'Principal,' started his movement five years ago and six months ago his followers converged on the site at Kikisram.

The Kiunga police station commander, Inspector Kawong Mulat, who has been monitoring the movement, said that 1,264 members of the cult in this period built houses for themselves and a large two-story building called the 'dark house.'

The landowners of the site became angry and annoyed by the large numbers of people building houses on their land.

The 'Principal,' who through his mother has rights to build at Kikisram, but the followers who come from all over the North and West Awin areas do not.

The landowners complained to the Kiunga police, who responded by asking Kwekwe and his followers to dismantle the houses and return to their respective home villages by December22, 1999.

Mr. Mulat said that many of the followers complied with the police request and left the site by that date. He said that Kwekwe and a group of 12 die-hard followers remained and the 'dark house' remained standing.

As a result, the landowners applied through the Kiunga district court for an eviction notice, which was granted.

The police were supposed to serve the notice last Monday January 3, but did not because of transportation problems.

For additional reports from The Independent, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Independent (Papua New Guinea).

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