Francisco Moreno Barrón, the archbishop of Tijuana, Mexico, across the border from metro San Diego in the United States, condemned the 20 attacks carried out in several towns in the state of Baja California.

The archbishop issued an Aug. 13 statement regarding the public transportation vehicles set on fire by armed men on the afternoon and night of Aug. 12 in Tijuana, Tecate, Ensenada, Mexicali, and Rosarito, towns on or not far from the U.S. border.

“I condemn this painful scenario that harms the entire society, which is suffering the consequences of problems that must find other ways of being solved, never with the violence that always causes more violence,” the archbishop stressed.

According to the newspaper El Universal, witnesses to some of the incidents said that the armed men stopped the vehicles, threatened the drivers, forced them to get off with all their passengers, and then poured on fuel and set the public transport vehicles on fire.

The motive for the attacks is unclear, but the senseless violence may be related to turf wars between rival cartels.

On Twitter, the governor of Baja California, Marina del Pilar Ávila Olvera, condemned the violence and said that some individuals responsible for the incidents that occurred “have already been arrested. It’s important to remain calm, we will keep you informed.”

Moreno also asked people to “stay calm” and “be informed through official or reliable means of communication, avoid false or alarmist messages and create networks of true information and social support.”

“With thousands of people without public transport on the streets and trying to get home,” the archbishop said he appreciated and was thankful for the efforts made in solidarity with the stranded passengers to help them.

The attacks took place one day after the day of violence in Ciudad Juárez, situated across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, which left at least 11 dead.

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After assuring that he is closely monitoring information from state and city officials on public safety conditions, the archbishop of Tijuana invited the faithful to pray the following prayer for peace in Mexico and in the state of Baja California:

Lord Jesus, you are our peace.

Look at our homeland harmed by violence

and dispersed by fear and insecurity. 

Comfort the pain of those who suffer.

Give success to the decisions of those who govern us.

Touch the hearts of those who forget that

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we are brothers and cause suffering and death;

give them the gift of conversion.

Protect families, our children,

adolescents and young people, our towns and communities.

That as your missionary disciples, responsible citizens,

we may know how to be promoters of justice and peace,

so that in you, our peoples may have a decent life.

Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us.


This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.