According to statistics from the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia, with the recent killing of two priests in the Colombian diocese of Ocaña, the number of priests that have been murdered during the last five years has risen to 32.
Speaking to reporters, the Secretary General of the Conference, Bishop Fabián Marulanda, expressed his concern about the lack of respect for priests and religious in the areas of the country in conflict.
“Although the guerrilla organizations have not obstructed the mission of Church personnel, they have often threatened them and forced them to leave those areas,” the bishop said, adding that bishops often counsel their priests to avoid taking risks when traveling in remote areas that are enveloped in the conflict.
With the death of two priests this week who were gunned down in their car, the number of clerics that have been killed in the last 20 years has reached 69. Of these, 59 were priests and 2 were bishops.
During the same period of time, 54 religious have been threatened, and 5 bishops, 18 priests and one missionary have been kidnapped, and 71 churches have been either destroyed or damaged by renegade groups.