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South America - Other NRMs

12 Members of Peru Sect Burn to Death
("Latin American Herald Tribune," June 8, 2009)

Lima, Peru – Twelve members of a Christian sect in Peru died in the flames of what was apparently a religious ritual, the daily Peru 21 said on Saturday.

Peruvian police made the gruesome discovery in the Nueva Esperanza (New Hope) community in Amazonas province after receiving a complaint against the sect from the lieutenant governor of the area, Wilder Rojas, who accused the Adventist congregation of trying to kidnap him.

When they arrived on the scene, the agents entered a house and found a man and his 9-year-old daughter being consumed by flames, but could do nothing to save them.

Next door they found the charred remains of another 10 people.

The pastor of the Adventist sect, Pedro Lopez Lancha, has been arrested together with another three members of his church.

According to the daily, Lopez Lancha said that the burned bodies belonged to criminals who set themselves on fire to wash away their sins.