Koresh displays a dark and light side

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The Independent Online
JUST days after negotiations with a religious cult were said to be progressing, the FBI now is depicting a darker side of the group's leader as a warmonger looking for another fight.

David Koresh, head of the Branch Davidian sect locked in a stand-off entering its tenth day, told negotiators 'We are ready for war; let's get it on,' said a FBI agent, Bob Ricks.

Mr Koresh alternately displays his 'light and dark sides', as the FBI put it, sometimes giving his callers a Bible lesson and at other times threatening them. His mood can change 'in an instant' in these sessions, the FBI says.

Some of the biblical references seem off the mark. He said that his name, Koresh, which he said also meant 'death', came from the Bible - Isaiah, chapter 45, but the only name in that chapter remotely close is that of Cyrus, the 'Lord's anointed one'.

Four Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents died on 28 February when they tried to arrest Mr Koresh for weapons violations.

It emerged yesterday that Mr Koresh is known personally to the local sheriff, Jack Harwell. Frustrated FBI negotiators called in Mr Harwell to see if the cult leader would respond any better to a friendly voice. The sheriff arranged for the delivery of six gallons of milk for the 17 children believed to be in the compound, but he could not persuade Mr Koresh to give details of his arsenal.

Two sets of relatives of British children already released made an appearance in court yesterday filing custody suits. Gladys Williams, the aunt of Renea and Nahana Fagen, aged six and four came from Manchester. Her sister, Yvette, is still in the compound. The children witnessed the shooting during the raid according to the US Child Protection Service, now holding them.

A London plumber, Vincent Nobrega, came seeking custody of his daughter, Natalie, aged 11. His wife Theresa, is still with the other cult members in the compound.

Ms Williams told the court that, on a trip to England recently, her sister became 'strange, just as strange . . . it was as if she was not going to come back'.

(Photograph omitted)