Unnamed New Light of God members and leaders #fundie #psycho abc.net.au

A survivor of a cult that killed her daughter and six other people in a remote village in Panama has described how she was ordered to close her eyes and beaten and knocked unconscious during the ritual.

Dina Blanco's account suggests the 14 surviving participants were helpless, bound, unconscious or sightless much of the time.

So the truth about what happened in the bizarre ceremony may only come out at the trials of the nine villagers charged with killing their neighbours in the hamlet of El Terron last week.

Speaking from her hospital bed in the nearest city, Santiago, Ms Blanco said she had gone to previous prayer meetings at the improvised church in a long wooden shed.

But this time, the tone had changed, and she did not go willingly.

The cult, which had operated in the village for about three months, changed after a member had a vision, telling the lay preachers they had been "anointed" to exterminate unbelievers.

Ms Blanco said a neighbour, Olivia, came to call her to the meeting of the New Light of God sect on January 13, saying she would have to come "whether you like it or not".

So she went — along with her nine-year-old daughter, who had epilepsy, her 15-year-old son and her father.

[...]

Authorities said cult members used Bibles, cudgels and machetes to hit the congregants. Ms Blanco still bears a broad bruise across her forehead from whatever hit her.

[...]

But the worst was yet to come. Late that night or in the early morning hours of January 14, a sect member approached and told her that her daughter Ins had died.

"The birds of the fields shall dispose of her body," the voice said.

In fact, Ins, like Ms Blanco's pregnant neighbour and five of her children, had been murdered during the ritual and their naked bodies slung into hammocks and dumped in a freshly-dug common grave in the village cemetery.

Nine of the 10 lay preachers detained last week have been charged with murder and kidnapping.

Over the weekend, Bibles still laid open and musical instruments were scattered in the shed where the killings took place.

Indigenous leader Evangelisto Santo has said that during the ceremony, "People were dancing and singing and nobody paid attention because we knew that they were in the presence of God."

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