The remains of the late Gen. Omar Torrijos, Panama's charismatic military leader during the 1970s, have been moved from an outdoor tomb to a church crypt to protect them from being defiled, a newspaper reported Sunday. Torrijos' remains were moved Friday from a tomb located in the Panamanian sector of Fort Amador, which is under both U.S. and Panamanian jurisdiction, to Santuario Nacional, a Catholic church, the daily Panama-American said.
It quoted the daughter of Torrijos as saying she had heard reports of people talking of melting the bronze statues of soldiers near the tomb. Torrijos died in a mysterious plane crash in 1981.
The remains were moved to a crypt in the Santuario Nacional where the ashes of Torrijos' cremated parents lie.
Torrijos came to power in a 1968 coup and is widely regarded as the father of Panamanian nationalism. He also created a huge armed force that controlled dozens of non-military companies and came to dominate much of the economic life of the country.