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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Liam Buckler

Waco massacre: Inside 51-day siege of apocalypse cult which led to deaths of 86 people

The Waco massacre in 1993 saw the deaths of 86 people after a 51-day standoff gripped viewers across the US.

Netflix's recent documentary Waco: American Apocalypse shows David Koresh serving as the messiah of a religious cult who had hundreds of followers hanging on his every word.

The Branch Davidian fringe religious group consisted of 130 men, women, and children living on a compound called the Mount Carmel Centre outside Waco, Texas, US.

He had warned his followers of a looming apocalypse and revealed they thought of him as the "son of God".

The leader even buried a bus underground in preparation for the apocalypse, which was ready to serve as a bunker.

In the three-part documentary there are interviews with survivors of the siege, FBI agents, and members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms unit (ATF) who raided the compound.

Netflix's documentary Waco: American Apocalypse focuses on cult leader David Koresh (Netflix)

Police had received a tip-off believing Koresh had dozens of automatic assault rifles, ammunition and grenades, which were mostly illegal, in his home.

It led to employees from the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) obtaining a warrant for his arrest on February 28, 1993.

They had turned up on a Sunday after believing the group would be at church.

Koresh had dozens of automatic assault rifles, ammunition and grenades, which were mostly illegal, in his compound (Netflix)

However, the Branch Davidians observed the Sabbath on the Saturday in order to be prepared for the apocalypse were it to arrive on a Sunday.

After law enforcements tried to apprehend Koresh, gunfire was exchanged between police and the Branch Davidians.

But what followed after was the largest American gunfight lasting 51 days and leaving 86 people dead.

Each evening for the next two months a wounded Koresh refused to surrender along with his followers.

Officials raided the compound after believing the group were at church (Netflix)

Television channels were gripped and covered the stand off from inside and outside the compound to millions of viewers.

US president Bill Clinton was even dragged into the story after he was accused of not acting quickly enough.

Several government agencies were criticised for prolonging the stand off and not coming to a resolution sooner.

The siege finally ended on April 19, 1993 after a fire shot Branch Davidians’ compound and 28 children were killed.

Gunfire was exchanged between feds and the Branch Davidians (Netflix)

Koresh died of a gunshot although it remains unclear who shot him.

Nine people inside the complex survived including Clive Doyle who said in an interview ten years after the Waco siege the cult leader had a special appeal.

Koresh, who would have multiple partners, separated married couples and led Bible studies which last all night.

He would take different women to his group at the end of each session.

Police and the FBI were criticised for prolonging the standoff (Netflix)

He told Texas Monthly: "Whatever David had must have been pretty good, for people to give up their lives to live on this hill, with its fire ants and inconveniences.

"They came and stayed because they found answers they couldn't find anyplace else — answers and knowledge they'd been searching for."

However, allegations against Koresh persisted including accusations of sexually abusing children after he fathered 14 kids.

Many survivors believed they were "brainwashed" by the cult but admitted they were not held against their will.

It was the largest American gunfight lasting 51 days and leaving 86 people dead (Netflix)

Including survivor David Thibodeau, who wrote in his memoir, Waco: A Survivor's Story: "So many of the Davidians have been demonised by the media.

"I felt it my duty to tell the true story of a group of people who were trying to live according to their religious beliefs and the teachings of a man they all considered divinely inspired.”

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