Cult's bagman among dead

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The Independent Online
GENEVA (Reuter) - The hunt for the cult leader Luc Jouret intensified yesterday after confirmation that another leading figure in the Order of the Solar Temple was among 48 cult members who died in Switzerland last week.

The Fribourg judge leading the inquiry into 23 deaths at a farmhouse in Cheiry announced that Camille Pilet, 68, the sect's treasurer and third-in-command, had been identified among the dead.

Judge Andre Piller also said that a .22 calibre pistol found in GrangessurSalvan was 'the weapon or one of the weapons' used on 20 of the Cheiry victims. This means that of the sect's three known leaders only Belgian-born Jouret who has an international arrest warrant out in his name for murder and arson, is still missing. Police said on Monday that the French-Canadian Joseph Di Mambro, 70, was among 25 who died in Granges-sur- Salvan.

Meanwhile, the blood-red temple in the Cheiry farmhouse where corpses were found, was officially put to the torch when police ripped out the temple and its pseudo-religious artefacts and burned them in the grounds of the house.

Television news pictures showed the deep red carpet, on which 18 caped corpses were discovered, being dumped in a rubbish container and workmen smashing the mirrors which once covered the temple walls. 'Everything's being taken down,' said a local police official, adding that they wanted to put off ghoulish outsiders looting the house for relics.

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