AMERICA/PARAGUAY - The Apostolic Vicar of Chaco calls for greater government commitment against violence and for the release of the kidnapped

Monday, 13 September 2021 violence   kidnapping   armed groups   local churches   human rights  


Alto Paraguay (Agenzia Fides) - The Vicar Apostolic of Chaco, Bishop Gabriel Escobar, has called on the Paraguayan government to do more to ensure the safe return of those kidnapped by the armed group in the north of the country. One year after the kidnapping of the former Vice-President of the Republic, Óscar Denis, and two other people (see Fides, 12/10/2020), Monsignor Escobar celebrated a mass in Concepción, during which he deplored the continuing insecurity in the north. On September 9th, the Vicar Apostolic in the parish of Virgen del Carmen recalled the fate of the former Vice-President Óscar Denis, the breeder Félix Urbieta and the non-commissioned police officer Edelio Morínigo, who were kidnapped a year ago by the armed group that calls itself "Paraguayan People's Army" (PPE). He urged members of armed gangs to stop fighting against each other, and reminded them that the name "Paraguayan army" does not coincide with what it means, that is, peace, work and development. "Being free means making use of one's qualities, one's abilities, the discernment of good and evil, but when people arrive who want to deprive us of freedom, this is the worst thing that can happen to us", he said during the homily.
Even the diocese of Santísima Concepción also remembered the three kidnapped men and their families in a communiqué published on Thursday (9th) and signed by Bishop Miguel Almada. He also called on the armed group to release them or at least provide information about their whereabouts, and called on the Paraguayans to reject and distance themselves from all violence and attacks on the dignity of life. At the same time, the increase in homicide cases in the northern area is deplorable. Finally, he calls on the authorities to redouble their efforts to ensure security in the area and, above all, to protect and support the most vulnerable groups of the population. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 13/9/2021)