MADRID, June 21 (EUROPA PRESS) –
Two Jesuit priests, Javier Campos and Joaquin Mora, and a civilian died after an armed attack in the church of Cerocahui, a town in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, in the Sierra Tarahumara region of the municipality of Urique.
The two religious, who belong to the Society of Jesus, were shot dead by suspected members of organized crime who broke into the temple, in particular José Noel Portillo, aka “El Chueco”, who heads a cell of the criminal group Gente Nueva , armed and operating arm of the Sinaloa cartel in this region, as reported by the newspaper La Jornada.
In the same area, the Attorney General’s Office has also reported the disappearance of a tour guide in the same area of the event, after being last seen at the Mission Hotel in Cerocahui, according to the newspaper El Universal.
The Mexican media has reported that Mexican authorities have described the deaths of the two Jesuits as “uncomfortable” and have announced that a police operation will be deployed in the area to ensure the safety of citizens.
For its part, the Society of Jesus issued a statement condemning “these violent events” and calling for “immediate” protective measures for the religious of the Cerocahui community, denying that they were “isolated events”.
“The Sierra Tarahumara, like many other regions of the country, faces conditions of violence and oblivion that have not been reversed. Every day men and women are arbitrarily deprived of their lives like our brothers were murdered today,” he explained, adding: “They will not remain silent in the face of a reality that is tearing apart all of society.”
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has stated that the matter has been discussed in the security cabinet and has assured that a “full investigation” will be carried out. He also said that there was already information about the alleged perpetrators.
“The information we have so far is that they entered the church to persecute a person, they murdered him. The priests came out and were apparently murdered,” the Mexican president assured, as reported by the newspaper Milenio.
The border is one of the areas hardest hit by drug-related violence, where violent crime and gang activity are commonplace. Most homicides are targeted killings against members of criminal organizations.