Priest, 2 Seminarians Killed in Mexico

CIUDAD ALTAMIRANO, Mexico, JUNE 16, 2009 ( A priest and two seminarians were killed Saturday in the southwestern Mexican state of Guerrero, presumably victims of drug violence that plagues the region.

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Father Habacuc Hernández Benítez, 39, Eduardo Oregón Benítez, 19, and Silvestre González Cambrón, 21, were on their way to a vocational meeting when they were shot as they drove down one of the main streets of the municipality of Arcelia.

Father Hernández was ordained in 2002; the youth were participating in the “seminarians in family” project.

Archbishop Felipe Aguirre Franco of Acapulco said Sunday in a press conference: “We become hostages in this violent confrontation of paybacks among the [drug] cartels that are on top of us. This also infects people — they imitate these violent actions and want to bring about the law of the jungle.”

The prelate said that region of Mexico is rife with the tendency to solve problems with pistols, paybacks, and shedding blood. He said that society is “‘Cain-izing, that is, brother kills brother.”

Mexican President Felipe Calderón has declared a war on drugs, deploying the federal army to the regions most plagued by the trafficking of narcotics and consequent violence. More than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict since December 2006.

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