.- The Colombian Bishop’s conference (CEC) confirmed the assassination of two priests in Ocaña, at the north of the city of Santander, a zone with an active presence of the FARC (The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia).
In an official press release signed by the President of the CEC, Msgr. Luis Augusto Castro, the bishops regretted the assassination of the priests Vicente Rozo Bayona, 49, Jesus Emilio Mora, 60, and of two civilians.
According to the police, the priests were traveling in a vehicle with the contractor Miguel Carrascal, in charge of the construction of a local police outpost in Teorema, and with Edgar Vergel, a builder on the same construction site. The vehicle received bursts of gun shots from a hill, allegedly the fighters were guerrilleros from the FARC.
It is believed that the purpose of the attack was to kill the workers. The guerilla already threatened workers working on this new police outpost.
The bishops consider this a “heinous crime that plunged into mourning the Church of Colombia, particularly the families and faithful of the Parish of San José de Convencion y del Monte Carmelo, the parish in which they served as pastoral ministers, as model priests and beloved from their community.”
“Whoever the instigators or executioners of this violent and sacrilege act might be, we condemn it as a crime that dishonors those who committed them, and that thwarts the aspirations of reconciliation and peace that the Church preaches”, they added.
The Police chief in the north of Santander, José Humberto Henao, explained that they shot from the hill without any prior word exchange. They were simply riddled with bullets. These priests did not receive any threat, and on the contrary they were very much liked by the people here.