Bishop Kidnapped in Colombia

Guerrillas Say He Will Be Used to Deliver a Message

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

BOGOTA, Colombia, JULY 26, 2004 ( Guerrillas kidnapped Bishop Misael Vacca Ramírez of Yopal for the apparent purpose of using him to deliver a message on peace talks, the Colombian episcopal conference reported.

The 48-year-old prelate was captured by rebels of the National Liberation Army (ELN) on Saturday near the town of Morcote, 350 kilometers (215 miles) northeast of Bogota. He was on a peace mission with three priests and the mayor.

The rebels told the bishop’s companions that he would be released after being given a message for an as-yet unnamed recipient. Neither the mayor nor the other priests were detained.

Monsignor Fabian Marulanda, secretary-general of the episcopal conference, said of the ordeal: «We cherish the hope that it will be of short duration.» He added: «We ask and claim the greatest respect for the life of Bishop Misael.»

Sabas Pretelt, Colombia’s interior minister, announced that a general alert was given to the military forces and the police in the regions of Boyaca and Casanare, where the ELN operates.

Bishop Vacca Ramírez was seeking a rapprochement between the government and guerrillas and paramilitary groups that operate in the oil and farming regions.

The ELN was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Bishop Jesús Emilio Jaramillo of Arauca, which occurred in October 1989, in the same area as the kidnapping of Bishop Vacca Ramírez.

In November 2002, the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia kidnapped Bishop Jorge Enrique Jiménez of Zipaquira, who was then president of the Latin American bishops’ council. Military forces freed him after four days of captivity.

Over the past 20 years, an archbishop, a bishop, and at least 50 priests and three nuns have been killed in Colombia. The country has grappled with a 40-year insurgent campaign to overthrow the government.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation