Two Mexican priests slaughtered in church while trying to shelter man from cartel violence

The church is demanding the return of the missing bodies of Father Javier Campos Morales and Father Joaquin Mora Salazar

Bevan Hurley
Wednesday 22 June 2022 17:26
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<p>Worshipers in Mexico mourn the deaths of two Jesuit priests </p>

Worshipers in Mexico mourn the deaths of two Jesuit priests

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Cartel gunman hunting a fleeing tourist guide burst into a Catholic church in northern Mexico and killed two elderly Jesuit priests, the religious order has announced.

The bodies of Javier Campos Morales, 79, and Joaquín César Mora Salazar, 80, are missing after they were then removed from the church in Cerocahui in Chihuahua state, the order said.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the fleeing man had sought refuge in the church, and had also been killed, during a news conference on Tuesday.

He was identified by the state government as a tourist guide.

The Chihuahua governor said the killings caused “deep anger, indignation and pain” and “shook us to our deepest depths.”

Violence has plagued the Tarahumara mountains for years. The rugged, pine-clad region is home to the Indigenous group of the same name. Cerocahui is near a point where Chihuahua state meets Sonora and Sinaloa, a major drug-producing region.

A statement from the Roman Catholic Society of Jesus in Mexico demanded justice and the return of the men’s bodies.

“Acts like these are not isolated,” the statement said.

“The Tarahumara mountains, like many other regions of the country, face conditions of violence and abandonment that have not been reversed.

“Every day men and women are arbitrarily deprived of life, as our murdered brothers were today.”

Associated Press contributed to this report

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