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Two priests murdered in Mexico

Mexico

MEXICO CITY: Two priests were found dead in eastern Mexico on Monday hours after they were kidnapped from their church, raising the number of Catholic clergymen killed in the country to 14 since 2012.

The priests were abducted by gunmen on Sunday from the church in Poza Rica, in the crime-plagued state of Veracruz, said Father Jose Alberto Guerrero, a local spokesman for the bishops’ conference in Teziutlan, Puebla state, where the victims were based.

“They took the two priests by force as well as a sacristan,” Guerrero told AFP.

The sacristan managed to escape but the priests were found with bullet wounds in the municipality of Papantla, close to where they were kidnapped, the spokesman said.

The Mexican Episcopal Conference expressed its “pain and outrage over the violence” against the priests in the world’s second biggest Roman Catholic country after Brazil.

“We hope the authorities will clear up these incidents and apply justice against those responsible,” the conference said in statement.

The Veracruz prosecutor’s office issued a statement saying it had launched an investigation after two people were found dead on Monday in Papantla, a day after they were kidnapped in Poza Rica. It did not reveal their identity but the statement’s description of the deaths coincide with the church’s information.

The Catholic Multimedia Center, which monitors attacks against clergymen, said the deaths mean that 14 priests, one seminarian and one sacristan have been killed since President Enrique Pena Nieto took office in December 2012. Two other priests remain missing.

Oil-rich Veracruz has been the scene of bloody turf wars between the Zetas and Jalisco New Generation drug cartels.

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