Remains of kidnapped Ugandan priest found in Mexico mass grave with 13 other bodies

Father John Ssenyondo, 55, disappeared six months ago in Guerrero state

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The Independent US

The remains of a Ugandan priest have been uncovered in a mass grave in Mexico six months after he disappeared.

Father John Ssenyondo, 55, was kidnapped after delivering Mass in the town of Santa Cruz, when a gang in an SUV intercepted his car.

Police said they were unsure why he was targeted but another priest in the same diocese was kidnapped last year, being freed after the church paid a $3,300 (£2,100) ransom.

Father Ssenyondo’s body was among 13 in a clandestine grave discovered earlier this month in the town of Ocotitlan, said Victor Aguilar, vicar of the Chilpancingo-Chilapa diocese in the southern state of Guerrero.

“Apparently they took him out of the car and threw him in the trunk,” Mr Aguilar said.

“We don't know the motive…you know violence is widespread in the state.”

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Protesters and members of Amnesty International hold photographs of missing students

The disappearance of 43 students after a confrontation with police in Guerrero shocked Mexico in September, sparking protests across the country.

Prosecutors pressing charges against the officers involved claim they turned the students over to a drug gang who reportedly murdered them, burned the bodies and dumped the ashes in a river.

Many mass graves were searched during the investigation but Mr Aguilar said the latest discovery was not related to its search.

Dental records had to be used to identify the Father Ssenyondo, who was born on Christmas Day 1958, in Masaka, Uganda, and arrived in the diocese about five years ago.

Three more dioceses have had to make extortion payments to avoid kidnappings and in September, another priest was murdered in the same state.

“That is the risk we all run,” said Rogelio Busto Juarez, superior of the Combonian order in Mexico, adding that the church community was stunned by the news of Ssenyondo's death.

“He knew he could meet his fate among the people with whom he decided to remain,” he added.

Additional reporting by AP

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