Photo: Colombia Leads in Number of Killings of Religious Workers
Once again this year, Fides publishes an annual document of all the pastoral workers who lost their lives in a violent manner over the course of the last 12 months. According to information in our possession, during 2011, 26 pastoral care workers were killed: one more than the previous year: 18 priests, 4 religious sisters, 4 lay people.
For the third consecutive year, the place most affected, with an extremely elevated number of pastoral workers killed was in The Americas, “bathed with the blood of 13 priests and 2 lay persons,” followed by Africa with 6 religious workers killed.
In Latin America 15 pastoral care workers were killed (13 priests and 2 lay people). They were killed in Colombia (7), Mexico (5), Brazil (1), Paraguay (1) and Nicaragua (1).
In Colombia 6 priests and 1 lay person were killed: Fr. Rafael Reátiga Rojas and Fr.Richard Armando Piffano Laguado killed by gunshot by a murderer who was traveling with the two priests; Fr. Luis Carlos Orozco Cardona, killed by a young man who shot him among the crowd; Fr. Gustavo Garcia, Eudista, murdered in the street by a man who wanted to steal his mobile phone; Fr. Jose Reinel Restrepo Idárraga, killed by unknown persons while he was riding his motorcycle which was then stolen along with other objects belonging to the priest; Fr. Gualberto Oviedo Arrieta, found covered with wounds and knifed to death, in the rectory of his parish. To the list of priests we also add a lay man Luis Eduardo Garcia, a member of the Social Pastoral, attacked by a group of guerrillas, kidnapped and then killed.
In Mexico, 4 priests died and 1 lay woman: Fr. Santos Sánchez Hernández, attacked by an intruder who entered his house, most likely to steal; Fr. Francisco Sanchez Duran, found in the church with wounds to the neck, perhaps in an attempt to stop a robbery in church; Fr. Salvador Ruiz Enciso, who was kidnapped and killed; Fr. Marco Antonio Duran Romero, killed in a gunfight between soldiers and an armed group. To the list we add Mary Elizabeth Macías Castro, of the Scalabrinian Lay Movement, who worked at a newspaper and in contact with migrants, kidnapped by a group of drug dealers and brutally killed.
In Brazil, Fr. Romeu Drago was killed in his home. His body was then brought to about 25 km from his home, where he was burned. In Paraguay, Mgr.Julio Cesar Alvarez was killed. His body was found in his room, hand and foot bound, with injuries and scratches and strangled. In Nicaragua, Fr. Marlon Ernesto Pupiro García was kidnapped and killed .