Nicaraguan Woman Burned In Exorcism Ritual

Exorcism Ritual

The disturbing incident happened in the rural community of El Cortezal in north-eastern Nicaragua. Trujillo Garcia, 25-year-old mother of two children ages 2 and 5, died five days after being rushed to hospital in the Nicaraguan capital Managua with first degree burns.

A young woman needed healing, and a church leader allegedly received the divine message with instructions to build the fire to cure her. Pastor Rocha Romero and four men from his congregation were following those instructions and stripped the woman naked, tied up her hands and feet then hurled her into the flames, according to Nicaraguan police. After that, Vilma Trujillo Garcia was left in a ravine near the banks of a river, where her 15-year-old sister found her nearly nine hours later. She suffered first and second degree burns over 80 percent of her body.

According to the Reuters report from last year, Latin America overall has the highest femicide rates in the world. Between 2012 and 2017 in Nicaragua, a country of just over six million inhabitants, 345 deaths of women were counted.

Pablo Cuevas, a spokesman for Nicaragua’s Human Rights Commission, said: “It is incredible that these things can happen today, there has to be a review by the authorities into all the different denominations and religions. We can’t have things like this happening.” Juanita Jimenez of the Autonomous Women’s Movement told local media that the “act of barbarity” was an example of fanaticism and misogyny.

When Rocha Romero, the pastor, spoke to reporters, he said, “It’s not that we were going to burn her,” according to local newspaper La Prensa. “She suspended herself and fell into the fire,” he claimed. “And when we were praying we saw that she was on fire.” He also told a local paper: “God told her he was going to remove that bad spirit from her and asked us to start a fire because that’s where the spirit was going to be expelled.”

One of the suspects, Franklin Jarquin Hernandez, told the paper Vilma had been possessed by a ‘bad spirit’ after committing adultery and “It was a bad spirit that pushed her and she fell on the fire.”

Her husband, Reynaldo Peralta Rodríguez, said his wife was taken to the church last week when members thought she was possessed after she allegedly tried to attack people with a machete. “My wife was not demonized,” Peralta Rodríguez told local reporters. “What they did to her was witchcraft.”

Police arrested Juan Gregorio Rocha Romero, the church’s evangelical pastor; Esneyda Del Socorro Orozco, the church leader; and three other people in connection with the Feb. 21 attack. The five suspects, branded members of a religious sect called The Assemblies of God, by other church leaders, are expected to be formally charged in the coming days after being transferred to Managua by police. Police said they were treating the case as murder.

Photo Credits: Capital

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