MOSCOW (AP) – A self-proclaimed prophet had a vision from God: He would build an Islamic caliphate under the earth.
The digging began about a decade ago and 70 followers soon moved into an eight-level subterranean honeycomb of cramped cells with no light, heat or ventilation.
Children were born. They, too, lived in the cold underground cells for many years – until authorities raided the compound last week and freed the 27 sons and daughters of the sect.
Ages 1 to 17, the children rarely saw the light of day and had never left the property, attended school or been seen by a doctor, officials said Wednesday. Their parents – sect members who call themselves “muammin,” from the Arabic for “believers” – were charged with child abuse.