By David Agren
MEXICO CITY (CNS) – An order of nuns has withdrawn from an especially violent city after the parents and sister of one of the women religious were kidnapped and killed.
The Diocese of Chilpancingo-Chilapa, where two priests were murdered Feb. 5, said in a statement that the nuns from the “Comunidad Guadalupana” (Guadalupe Community) had withdrawn because of a lack of security, leaving a school it operated in the city of Chilapa without staff.
Schools in Chilapa had suspended classes from September to December because of the insecurity, the statement said.
The nuns’ withdrawal from Chilapa is but the latest hardship for the Diocese of Chilpancingo-Chilapa, which serves parts of the southern state of Guerrero, where the heroin trade has exploded in recent years. At least six priests have been murdered there since 2009.
Two priests, Fathers Germain Muniz Garcia and Ivan Anorve Jaime, were shot dead as they drove back from Candlemas celebrations with four other passengers, three of whom were injured.
State prosecutor Xavier Olea Pelaez said originally that the priests had attended the celebrations, where there were armed individuals from three states and that a criminal group and a neighboring state had shot the priests.
Olea also said a photo, showing Father Muniz holding an assault rifle and posing with masked men, prompted confusion.
Bishop Salvador Rangel Mendoza of Chilpancingo-Chilapa, who has had a tense relationship with the state government, rejected the prosecutor’s version of events as a “fairy tale,” saying the photo was at least a year old and likely taken with members of a community security force in Father Muniz’s hometown.
The bishop said after speaking with survivors, who included Father Muniz’s sister, that there had been an “incident” on the highway coming back from the celebrations.
“What they’re trying to do is blame us,” Bishop Rangel said of the prosecutor’s statements. “According to them, we move among narcotics traffickers, hence the murdered priests.”
In a Feb. 15 statement, the state government said the priests were not members of a criminal group and confirmed details voiced by the bishop.