News, Culture & Society

Six children and a pregnant woman are found in mass grave after they were tortured and killed

The bodies of six children and a pregnant woman have been found in a burial pit in Panama where a religious sect was found torturing indigenous people.

The pregnant mother had been buried with five of her own children – aged from one to 17 – after they were killed in a bizarre exorcism ritual in a remote jungle community near the country’s Caribbean coast.

Police say indigenous residents had been rounded up by about 10 lay preachers and tortured, beaten, burned and hacked with machetes to make them ‘repent their sins,’ authorities said Thursday.

Yesterday officers arrested 10 members of an evangelical sect known as The New Light of God. They also freed 14 members of the Ngabe Bugle indigenous group who had been tied up and beaten with wooden cudgels and Bibles.

The pit was found at a remote camp near the coast where yesterday police arrested 10 members of an evangelical sect known as The New Light of God. Paramedics and officials are pictured above near the scene

Paramedics are seen carrying people rescued from the religious sect group into an ambulance. Members of the group had been tied up and beaten with wooden cudgels and Bibles

Paramedics are seen carrying people rescued from the religious sect group into an ambulance. Members of the group had been tied up and beaten with wooden cudgels and Bibles

Cops were pictured with the people allegedly responsible for the deaths in Bocas Del Toro

Cops were pictured with the people allegedly responsible for the deaths in Bocas Del Toro

Local prosecutor Rafael Baloyes described a chilling scene found by investigators when they made their way through the jungle-clad hills to the remote Ngabe Bugle indigenous community near the Caribbean coast Tuesday.

Alerted by three villagers who escaped and made their way to a local hospital for treatment earlier, police were prepared for something bad, Baloyes said, but were still surprised by what they discovered at an improvised ‘church’ at a ranch where a little-known religious sect known as ‘The New Light of God’ was operating.

‘They were performing a ritual inside the structure. In that ritual, there were people being held against their will, being mistreated,’ Baloyes said.

‘All of these rites were aimed at killing them if they did not repent their sins,’ he said. 

‘There was a naked person, a woman,’ inside the building, where investigators found machetes, knives and a ritually sacrificed goat, he said.

The rites had been going on since Saturday, and had already resulted in deaths, Baloyes said.

About a mile away from the church building, authorities found a freshly dug grave with the corpses of six children and one adult. The dead included five children as young as a year old, their pregnant mother and a 17-year-old female neighbour.

‘They searched this family out to hold a ritual and they massacred them, mistreated them, killed practically the whole family,’ Baloyes said, adding that one of the suspects in the killing is the grandfather of the children who were slain.

All the victims, and apparently all the suspects, were members of the same indigenous community.

Officials are pictured near the scene of the mass burial pit. The pregnant mother had been buried with five of her own children and the dead minors found in the pit were aged from one to 17, according to officials in the country

Officials are pictured near the scene of the mass burial pit. The pregnant mother had been buried with five of her own children and the dead minors found in the pit were aged from one to 17, according to officials in the country

Jose Gonzalez, left, the husband of the pregnant woman found dead at the sect follows his five-year-old daughter, carried by a police officer, as they leave a hospital in Santiago, Panama

Jose Gonzalez, left, the husband of the pregnant woman found dead at the sect follows his five-year-old daughter, carried by a police officer, as they leave a hospital in Santiago, Panama

Ricardo Miranda, leader of the Ngabe Bugle semi-autonomous zone known as a Comarca, called the sect ‘satanic’ and said it went against the region’s Christian beliefs.

‘We demand the immediate eradication of this Satanic sect, which violates all the practices of spirituality and co-existence in the Holy Scriptures,’ Miranda said.

Apparently, the sect is relatively new to the area, and had been operating locally only for about three months.

Things reportedly came to a head Saturday, when one of the church members had a vision.

‘One of them said God had given them a message,’ Baloyes said. That message apparently boiled down to making everyone repent or die.

The Ngabe Bugle are Panama’s largest indigenous group and suffer from high rates of poverty and illiteracy.

It was not clear what belief or affiliations ‘The New Light of God’ church has. A well-established evangelical church known as Luz del Mundo said in a press statement that it had no ties to the case.

The area is so remote that helicopters had to be used to ferry the injured out to hospitals for treatment. They included at least two pregnant women and some children.      

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk