Machete-wielding jungle ‘God’ cult made ‘family walk through fire’ in exorcism

A jungle cult cut off from the modern world forced a pregnant woman and her five kids to walk through fire, it is claimed.

The grisly rituals of Panama's "New Light of God" cult were uncovered by officers who freed 14 captives when storming the community in January 2020.

In their investigation, the bodies of seven villagers who had been tortured in bizarre exorcisms, were eventually found buried in a mass grave.

Authorities stormed the rural community after three victims of the controlling religious sect managed to escape to a hospital beyond the jungle.

The runaways raised the alarm of the horrors they had seen and been subjected to in the remote north-western indigenous Ngäbe-Buglé region.

When police swooped in on a makeshift church they saw 14 people bound and beaten with wooden cudgels and Bibles, surrounded by machetes and knives.

According to The Guardian, Prosecutor Rafael Baloyes said: "They were performing a ritual inside the structure. In that ritual, there were people being held against their will, being mistreated."

The "New Light of God" cult was reportedly started by a man who claimed to have been told by God to make sure everyone asked for forgiveness.

Anyone who refused or just bewildered by the demand, was targeted with violent exorcisms.

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The reign of terror began with members of the sect began dragging victims into a small church building, and beat them with sticks into submission.

If anyone did not get the message to repent under the force of a stick, machetes were wielded by oppressors.

Baloyes continued: "One of them said God had given them a message. That message apparently boiled down to making everyone repent or die.

"All of these rites were aimed at killing them, if they did not repent their sins. There was a naked person, a woman.

"They searched this family out to hold a ritual and they massacred them, mistreated them, killed practically the whole family."

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A judge sanctioned the detention of nine alleged cult members on charges of sacrificing and killing six minors and a pregnant woman.

Those arrested included a grandfather and two uncles of the five children who died walking through a fire with their pregnant mother and neighbour.

BBC News reported investigators hiked for 10 hours through mountains and woodland to locate the burial site of all those killed at the hands of the twisted cult.

Excavation began close to a river about 210 miles away from the capital, Panama City.

Public prosecutor Azael Tugri said: "At this time it is not possible to determine either the sex or the number of people [found in the grave]."

The sect had taken over the community for three months before it was raided by police.

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