Mexico: Priests kidnapped and killed

Two priests have been kidnapped and killed in Mexico. They were murdered after they were abducted from their church in the oil-rich state of Veracruz. The area has been the scene of violent clashes between drug cartels for years, but it is still not clear why the two priests have been killed.

In a statement, the Mexican Diocese of Papantla confirmed the violent death of the two priests: Father Alejo Nabor Jiménez Juárez and Father José Alfredo Suárez de la Cruz.

A first report from the Office of the Attorney General of the state indicates that the two priests were kidnapped on September 18, from the parish of Nuestra Senora de Fatima, in the extreme outskirts of the city of Poza Rica, in the northern part of the Veracruz state.

Their lifeless bodies were found the day after on Monday, September 19, at the side of the road that connects Papantla to Poza Rica. An associate of the priests, who worked as a sacristan and driver, was also kidnapped, and fortunately was found alive.

On the tragic death of the two priests, Mgr. José Trinidad Zapata Ortiz, Bishop of Papantla, has said:

“We are dismayed by this news and we pray for their eternal rest. Once more we see that violence and insecurity have taken root in our society”.

“We condemn all forms of violence and pray for the conversion of those who forget that we are brothers and cause suffering and death. The path of violence and crime generates even more violence. God does not want death, neither violence nor injustice. God wants life, God wants everyone to live in justice, dignity and peace”.

According to the Mexican Episcopal Conference, of the forty-one religious members who have been killed over the past 24 years, thirty-eight were openly murdered, and the remaining three have disappeared. In addition, four lay people, including a journalist working for a Catholic newspaper, have also been killed. Among them a Ugandan Comboni Missionary, Father John Seenyondo, 62, who was found in a mass grave on 29 October 2014, while the police were searching for the bodies of 43 missing students in Iguala.

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