Priest and the assault rifle. Priest and the assault rifle.

Priest’s rifle pic may have triggered attack

One of two priests killed Monday had been photographed holding an assault rifle

Two priests killed Monday in an armed attack in Guerrero were targeted by a criminal gang because of one of the priests appeared to have connections with a rival gang, the state Attorney General’s office (FGE) said yesterday.

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Germaín Muñiz García and Iván Añorve Jaimes were shot and killed early Monday morning on the Iguala-Taxco highway after the vehicle in which they were traveling was intercepted by a truck occupied by armed men.

They shot and killed the priests and wounded two men and two women.

In a statement released yesterday, the FGE said Muñiz had recently been photographed holding an assault rifle while in the company of armed and masked men.

The photograph had circulated on social media and appeared to link the priest to a criminal gang, which triggered the armed attack by members of a rival organization, the statement said.

The priests and their companions were returning from a dance in Juliantla “attended by many people belonging to various criminal groups” when they were attacked.

According to witnesses at the dance, there was a fight between several people and the group that accompanied the two priests, the FGE said.

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In an earlier press conference, Attorney General Xavier Olea Peláez also said the priests were consuming alcohol at the event, which he described as “an indiscretion.”

The Guerrero Attorney General’s office said the perpetrators of the crime are from the state of México.

After officiating at a funeral service for Muñiz late yesterday, the bishop of the Chilpancingo-Chilapa diocese told reporters that the priest’s relationship with criminal groups was necessary for him to be able to travel between the towns of his parish.

“It was imprudent of the father to have had that photograph taken but the father had to greet them, he had to talk with them, he had to do it because he had to travel through his territory, if he didn’t, how could he pass through?” Salvador Rangel Mendoza said.

Rangel also justified the presence of the priests at the dance which, according to the FGE, was attended by criminal gangs from Guerrero, Morelos and México state.

“. . . The Father Iván Añorve was a very talented singer-songwriter, they went to Juliantla to offer his music . . .” he said.

The bishop has been a vocal proponent of dialogue with drug gangs as a means to stop violence, and has admitted to meeting with gang leaders.

According to Mexico’s Catholic Media Center, 21 priests have been killed in Mexico since December 2012.

Source: El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp)

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  • DreadFool

    apparitions everywhere!

  • WestCoastHwy

    There is always the black sheep in every association including the Catholics (Santa Muerte). Now there is a different context to, (let us prey.)

    • David Nichols

      And also: mi culpa, mi culpa, mi grande culpa…

  • Christy2

    So now we’re blaming the victim?

  • The now infamous photo of Lee Harvey Oswald holding a rifle was used to make him the patsy in JFK’s assassination. Now here is a photo of a now dead priest holding a rifle being used to exonerate his murderers. The photo has no context. Was the priest forced to pose between these men? I don’t know and neither do any of us viewing this photo. The priest cannot say as he has been forever silenced. Are some priests corrupt? Yes, of course. Was this priest corrupt? I will not assume so based upon a single photograph. The problem isn’t the gun in the photo rather the problem was the gun with the trigger being pulled.

    This photo cannot justify murder. The many Catholic people of Mexico, amongst which I count myself, deserve better. We should have the right to exercise our faith without having our priests killed. Most of the priest who are being killed are those who speak the truth of the Gospel which is a preferential option for the poor. The wealthy and powerful, including those who become so via the trafficking of narcotics hate this truth. They kill the priests who speak this truth sometimes with the support of government officials who profit from the bribes. Until the facts of this situation change, I will presume that every priest killed are martyrs for the faith, for the poor who are comforted by this message of liberation, this message of Jubilee.

    • Garry Montgomery

      O.K. so religion gives the poor “hope”.

  • Garry Montgomery

    Oh yes . . . “were consuming alcohol” and what else were they doing? Hmmm . . . the catholic church!

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