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Priest killed in Colombia while celebrating mass

Gunmen burst into a church in Colombia Saturday evening, killing Fr Juan Ramón Núñez, who was celebrating Mass, together with layman, Joaquín Quebrada.

Police said the incident took place in the southern village of La Argentina, during 7:00 pm Mass, one of the most crowded celebrations of the week. The gunmen went up to the altar and shot the priest four times. Before leaving, they also shot Quebrada, who was attending the Mass.

Preliminary police investigations point to guerrillas as possible suspects.

Shortly after, the police contacted Catholic bishops to see what security measures could be implemented in Huila to guarantee the life of priests threatened by the guerrillas. The priest was killed not long after the murder of Archbishop Isaías Duarte Cancino of Cali, amid growing threats against Catholic clergy. Colonel Jorge Iván Calderón Quintero, who is in charge of security for ecclesiastical authorities, recently published a list of 10 priests who are being threatened.


9 Apr 2002