The bodies of seven people have been found buried in a mass grave as 15 people were rescued from an alleged ‘exorcism sext’.
Priests from the sect abused victims by reportedly beating them with bibles, choking them and ramming burning sticks their mouths.
The 15 rescued from the ‘La Nueva Luz de Dios’ (‘The New Light of God)’ sect were taken to hospital to be treated.
Local media said there were children among them, although their ages are not known.
The Panamanian Ministry of Public Security has confirmed that 10 members of the sect have been arrested.
It happened in the community of El Terron located in the village of Santa Catalina in the western Panamanian region of Ngabe-Bugle.
According to local media, the victims were indigenous people who had been abducted and kept captive by the sect’s priests who also carried out exorcism rituals that included physical abuse.
Video footage shows the moment the victims were taken a hospital.
National Police director Alexis Munoz confirmed the discovery of a mass grave in the same location where the victims were rescued that contained at least seven bodies.
Munoz told local media: ‘When we arrived we were told there was a mass grave in the area, the National Police has since confirmed its existence.’
Reports identified the deceased as Bellin Flores, 33, Jose Hilario Gonzalez Rios, 17, Ladys Gonzalez Rios, 9, Daysi Mariela Gonzalez, 10, Daniel Gonzalez, 3, Efrain Gonzalez Flores, 1, and Ines Urriola Blanco, 9.
Lawyer Rafael Baloyes told local media: ‘It is a complex case. The group abused people and committed criminal acts against the local community.
‘We are going to quiz the injured people to find out if there are other victims and what criminal acts have been committed. There could be even more victims.’
According to reports, the victims had been tortured during exorcism rituals that included beating them with Bibles. Choking them and placing burning sticks in their mouths to ‘cast out the demons’.
The rituals also included animal sacrifices and a lamb was found dead without its tongue in the same location, according to local media.
The police have so far arrested 10 people as the investigation continues.
To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.