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Ethiopian police arrest 'doomsday prophet' for sowing panic

Monday, December 17, 2018

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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AFP) — Police in Ethiopia's northern Amhara regional state have arrested a "doomsday prophet" who caused widespread panic over claims his village would be wiped out on Monday, state media reported.

The state-owned Amhara Mass Media Agency (AMMA) reported that the prophet had told his followers in the village of Ergoye that he had recently returned from heaven with a gloomy message.

"I have just returned from paradise with a message from god. The people in my area will be wiped out on Monday," AMMA reported him as saying.

"When I entered paradise I met a woman who said she is the Virgin Mary, I also met god..." he claimed.

The prediction prompted residents to shut schools and businesses for several days, the AMMA reported.

Ethiopia is a deeply religious society, with surveys showing the vast majority of Ethiopians believe in a supernatural deity.

In recent years, the proliferation of quasi-evangelical movements and charismatic preachers has sometimes spawned "cult leaders".

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