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In a remote corner of Panama, an indigenous community about which little is known is for the second time this year the subject of an investigation by the authorities.

In the mountainous region of Ngäbe Buglé, more than 350 kilometers from the capital, a grave with seven bodies was discovered at the beginning of the year, most of them children who died as part of the rites of a religious sect.

“At this time, neither the sex nor the number of people (found in the grave) can be determined,” municipal representative Azael Tugrí told local media.

According to the official, the uniformed men had to go into the mountains for 10 hours to reach the place, given the difficult access to the area where the indigenous community lives.

The Ngäbe Buglé ethnic group, in whose region these events occurred, is the largest indigenous group in Panama and, according to the local press, in the last year it has been shaken by the activity in its communities of Christian sects.

What is known about the pit?

According to the Ministry of Security (Senam), the discovery took place after more than 30 days of ground patrolling and overflight in the area, after the dismantling in mid-August of an alleged religious sect that is being investigated if it was linked to the which was dismembered in January.

The Senam indicated that the remains were exhumed in the presence of representatives of the Public Ministry, Criminalistics and “homicide personnel.”

“After the exhumation, carried out by the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences, the remains were transferred to the judicial morgue of David, Chiriquí province, where the scientific tests that will be incorporated into the investigation will be carried out to determine, in addition to the identity, cause of death and other elements that lead to clarify this fact and the possible links, “said the Public Ministry.

The remains were exhumed and transferred for study.


The Panamanian authorities did not provide details of how they discovered the grave in the thick of the jungle, near a river in the indigenous region.

The video and images published by the Prosecutor’s Office and Senam show several people digging a previously isolated area until they find what appear to be human bones.

In mid-August, the Panamanian authorities arrested three people, a woman and two men, allegedly associated with a sect. They were accused of crimes of sexual abuse and mistreatment of minors.

As reported by the authorities at the time, the suspects were detained after the rescue of a group of minors who denounced the abuses.

The authorities have detained four members of the alleged sect.


One of the suspects, a 17-year-old young man and alleged leader of the sect, was arrested last week after being on the run for almost a month.

The Prosecutor’s Office believes that the detainees, who allegedly promoted a religious cult and kept a group of people deprived of their liberty, “beat and tortured” members of an indigenous community in Ngäbe Buglé and abused and sexually abused minors.

According to the authorities, three of the victims, between 10 and 13 years old, are receiving psychological support.

How frequent are these events in Panama?

Read more

Although the authorities have not directly linked the grave found with the sect, several local media established parallels with what happened last January in the same region, when a religious sect was accused of the death of seven people: a pregnant woman and six children.

exorcism“while another group of people were released after being locked up and allegedly tortured by the cult leaders.” data-reactid = “99”> Authorities reported that the victims died as part of a “exorcism“while another group of people were released after being locked up and allegedly tortured by the cult leaders.

According to the local press, people were beaten until they vomited, as a sign that they had “expelled the demon.”

The Panama Prosecutor’s Office is investigating whether there is a relationship between this sect and the one that was dismantled in mid-August.

What is the power of the evangelical churches in Panama?

According to data from the Latinobarómetro pollster, which studied the religious population in Latin America between 1995 and 2017, 72% of the Panamanian population identifies as Catholic, although the number of followers of religion fell significantly in that period.

A “household survey” carried out in the Central American country between 1998 and 2009 indicated that even then, with 18% of the population, evangelicals were the second most practiced religion.

Religious sects have gained power among Christian groups in Latin America.


The data for Panama are in line with the rest of Central America, where the number of evangelicals has grown exponentially in recent years, mainly due to pastoral work in poor communities or in areas of indigenous or minority populations.

They have also been singled out for promoting religious fundamentalism, promoting schemes in which their pastors enrich themselves based on the tithe of their faithful, and promoting forms of abuse ranging from subjugation to sexual abuse.

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San Francisco Police Investigating Sea Cliff Neighbotrhood Sexual Assaults

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco police special victims detectives are investigating a series of sexual battery incidents that have occurred in recent months in the city’s Sea Cliff neighborhood.

While investigators are actively working to identify the suspect and place him under arrest, police patrols have been increased in the area, said San Francisco Police Sgt. Shawn Mendez of the special victims crime unit.

The suspect is described as male, unknown race and 6 feet all in height. He was last seen a black hooded sweatshirt.

Those who believe they have been a victim if a sexual battery related to these investigations, please contact Mendez at (415) 553-1866, or
email him at

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to contact San Francisco police on its 24-hour tip line at (415) 575-4444, or Text-A-Tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with “SFPD”. You may remain anonymous.

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