Cult rebuilding church at Waco

SIX YEARS after the police assault on the Branch Davidian compound at Waco in Texas, a group of volunteers has begun to rebuild a church at the site, hoping to make it into a memorial to those who died there. The church was among buildings levelled by the authorities after fire swept through the compound on 19 April 1993, killing 80 cult members.

The rebuilding project was conceived by Alex Jones, a 25-year-old talk- show host from Austin, who says that the rebuilt church should also encourage people to find out what really happened at Waco. While the initial investigations concluded that members of the cult had set fire to the compound as an act of mass suicide, that theory has been increasingly discredited. Evidence came to light last month indicating that police fired inflammable tear- gas into the compound, something they had consistently denied..

The disclosures prompted accusations of a cover-up and the attorney general, Janet Reno, responded by appointing a former Republican Senator, John Danforth, to chair an inquiry. The new evidence was uncovered by lawyers for some of the victims' families, who are suing the US authorities for the "unlawful death" of their relatives. The case is due to come to court next month.