Rebelling against the aggressive proselytising of Presbyterian missionaries, dozens of villages on the island of Tanna put their faith in a mysterious outsider called John Frum. They believed he would drive out their colonial masters and re-establish their traditional ways. On Tanna, islanders became convinced that John Frum was an American. They have spent the past 60 years dressing up in home-made US army uniforms, drilling with bamboo rifles and parading beneath the Stars and Stripes in the hope of enticing a delivery of "cargo" again.
In a bloody encounter with knives, slingshots, axes and bows and arrows, John Frum believers clashed with the members of a breakaway Christian sect led by a softly spoken villager Fred Nasse, who calls himself Prophet Fred. Six houses and a thatched Presbyterian church were burnt down during a battle that involved 400 islanders.
"In the past we believed in John Frum, but now we believe in Jesus," said Alfred Wako, 49. "The John Frum people don't go to church and they don't send their children to school. They believe in the old rituals. They are heathens."
Vanuatu villagers in bloody cult clash
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