Panama City – Authorities in Panama have discovered a new mass grave in a remote area where in January they found the remains of seven people that police believe were tortured and killed by a religious sect.
Prosecutors said on Monday they believed a different sect is responsible for the new mass grave. The state prosecutor’s office said investigators were supervising the exhumation of skeletal remains from the site in the indigenous Ngabe Bugle region, 350km north of the capital.
“At this time, it is not possible to determine either the sex or the number of people” found in the grave, said Azael Tugri, a public prosecutor in the indigenous district.
Tugri said investigator had to hike for 10 hours through mountains to reach the site, near the source of the Chucara River.
Panama’s Aeronaval Service (SENAN) said in a statement the grave was located after a painstakingly month-long search.
The latest grisly discovery is being linked by investigators to the dismantling last month of a suspected sect and the arrest of its leader, said a source close to the investigation.
SENAN officials linked the grave site to the “alleged rape and mistreatment of minors” by a religious group.