'Satanic sect' kills seven during suspected 'exorcism' in Panama

17 January 2020, 11:45

Jose Gonzalez, left, follows his 5-year-old daughter, carried by a police officer, as they leave a hospital in Santiago, Panama,
Jose Gonzalez, left, follows his 5-year-old daughter, carried by a police officer, as they leave a hospital in Santiago, Panama,. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A "satanic" sect has killed seven people and police have freed 14 others following a violent "exorcism" in a jungle community in Panama.

Police in Panama have raided Ngabe Bugle in the north-west of the country where it is believed a religious sect were performing rituals.

Prosecutors said, seven people, including a pregnant woman and her five children, were found dead following a suspected exorcism.

Officers discovered the bodies in a mass grave while police freed more than a dozen others who'd been tied up and beaten with wooden clubs and Bibles.

The victims included a woman, 32, and five of her children, aged one to 11. The sixth was a neighbour, 17.

Following the raid, ten people were arrested on suspicion of murder, including the pregnant woman's father.

Local prosecutor Rafael Baloyes said indigenous residents were rounded up by lay preachers and tortured, beaten, burned and hacked with machetes to make them "repent their sins."

Authorities were alerted to the violence by three villagers from the Caribbean coast community who escaped and made their way to a local hospital for treatment.

Investigators found an improvised "church" at a ranch where the 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," prosecutor Rafael 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 added.

The rites had been going since Saturday when one of the church members had a vision.

"One of them said God had given them a message," Mr Baloyes said.

The leader of the Ngabe Bugle region Ricardo Miranda branded the sect "satanic" and said it went against the region's Christian beliefs.

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

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

EasyJet cancelled a flight to Marrakesh on Wednesday

Morocco bans UK flights due to rising Covid cases

Putin will not attend the UK-hosted COP26

Putin snubs COP26: Russian president won’t attend Glasgow climate summit

Sadiq Khan was one of the first leaders in the world to declare a climate emergency

Climate change: Sadiq Khan to be named new chair of C40 cities at COP26

George W Bush pictured with Colin Powell in 2002

Bush and Blair lead tributes to Colin Powell after death aged 84

Earthshot 2021

Revealed: List of winners awarded £1million by Duke of Cambridge for Earthshot Prize 2021

Millionaire Robert Durst is believed to have killed three people.

Millionaire murderer on ventilator with Covid days after sentencing

Former PM Gordon Brown wants to send over a billion vaccines to low-income countries

Gordon Brown calls for emergency vaccine airlift to poorer nations

The US has "no idea" how the Chinese managed to make such progress on hypersonic missiles

China fires hypersonic missile around globe before striking target

A British Airways plane takes off as the resumption of UK – US flights was confirmed

UK – US flights to resume from 8 November after 19-month ban

Officers arrested the suspect after 30 minutes

Norway bow and arrow attack 'appears to be act of terror' as five killed

Police in Florida arrested the man on Tuesday

Man arrested after toddler found gun and shot mother dead during work Zoom call

Police officers cordon off the scene in Kongsberg

Five people killed after man goes on bow and arrow rampage in Norwegian town

Billy Hood has been jailed for 25 years

London football coach jailed for 25 years in Dubai over cannabis oil found in car

Blue Origin Launch.

Lift off! William Shatner soars into orbit on Blue Origin rocket

William Shatner take part in New Shepard spacecraft crew

Watch: William Shatner blasts off into space

Pen Farthing had staff and animals from his charity Nowzad evacuated from Afghanistan

Pen Farthing talks of 'total relief' as charity staff are flown into UK