Parish Priest Killed in Colombia

BOGOTA, MAY 16, 2003 ( A Colombian parish priest was murdered yesterday by unidentified assailants; the motive seems to be robbery.

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Father Jairo Garavito was in the parish of the village of Yerbabuena, in the rural area of Chia, when he was attacked by two men who, it appears, wanted to steal his car and television.

The priest died of asphyxiation when his murderers strangled him with the cord of his habit, according to local police sources.

«Then they sedated the housekeeper with an hallucinogenic drug» so that «she would not recognize them,» the spokesman of the Cundinamarca Police added.

The people of Chia were very distressed today, and spoke about the work the priest did in the service of the neediest.

Colombia has become one of the most dangerous countries for priests, due to the deaths carried out by guerrilla groups and incidents of common delinquency.

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