The bodies of seven people, including a child as young as one, were found in a mass grave after families were held against their will in a church in Panama
A “satanic” sect killed a pregnant woman and six children – aged between one and 17 – during a violent exorcism inside a church, say prosecutors.
Officers found a mass grave containing seven bodies – the 33-year-old woman, five of her children and a neighbour’s child – in the indigenous region of Ngabe-Bugle in Panama.
The gruesome discovery came after local authorities were told several families had been held against their will in a church where exorcisms were believed to have taken place.
Fifteen people were rescued from the religious sect where they were reportedly tortured by being beaten with bibles, choked and having burning sticks rammed in their mouths to “cast out the demons”.
Ten sect members were arrested on suspicion of responsibility for the killings, prosecutors said.
Those rescued from the church had suffered bodily injuries, Alexis Munoz, a senior police official, told Reuters.
Rafael Baloyes, senior prosecutor of the Bocas del Toro province of western Panama, said: “We’re talking about seven victims, six minors between the ages of one and 17.
“Six from one family, the mother and her five children, and the mother was pregnant.”
The deaths involved the La Nueva Luz de Dios (The New Light of God) sect in the community of El Terron, according to the Panamanian Ministry of Public Security.
Ricardo Miranda, head of the Ngabe-Bugle semi-autonomous zone, wrote on Facebook: “We demand the immediate eradication of this satanic sect that contradicts all the harmonious and spiritual practices contemplated in the holy scriptures.”
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SOURCE: Mirror.co.uk – Chris Kitching & Jonathan Macias