Vatican City (Fides Service) - Father Paulo Carreno, parish priest of Saravena, a town on the border with Venezuela, in the Arauca region where conflict and violence are the order of the day, was shot dead on 3 November, at about 3 in the afternoon. Ms Maritza Linares, a nurse at the local hospital travelling in the car, was also killed. The priest’s car was attacked not far from Sarare hospital in Saravena on the road to Fortul. Father Carreno, aged 38, was from Guacamayas (Boyacá). He came as assistant priest to Saravena nine years ago and two years ago he was appointed parish priest of Christ the King Parish in Saravena. The local chief of police said the priest had not been threatened and that the murderers were probably local criminals fighting for control of oil fields.
A few hours later during the night of November 3, in another part of the country, Father Henry Humberto López Cruz, parish priest at Villavicencio, capital of the Meta region in central Colombia was stabbed to death in the parish house. His body tied to a chair was found the next morning by a cleaning woman. The local police said the priest had not been threatened and reported that the neighbours heard nothing unusual during the night. Father Henry Humberto López Cruz, who was from Lebanon (Tolima), aged 44, was appointed parish priest in the El Remanso at Villavicencio only eight months ago.
In the last ten years in Colombia no less than sixty Catholics, bishops, priests, seminarians, lay persons have been killed in attacks attributed to guerrillas. One of the most prominent figures was Archbishop Isaias Duarte Cancino, of Cali, assassinated on March 16 2002 as he left the church after celebrating Mass. (S.L.) (Fides Service 7/11/2003; lines 20 – words 287)