AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Great participation at the funeral of Father Ramón Arturo Montejo, killed in a robbery

Friday, 7 June 2024 local churches   violence  

Bogotá (Agenzia Fides) - In the presence of hundreds of priests from the Province of Ocaña and numerous faithful, the funeral of Father Ramón Arturo Montejo Peinado, parish priest of San José in Buenavista, who was brutally murdered in a robbery on June 4, was held on June 6 in his hometown of Teorama.
The attack on Father Montejo took place in a parking lot in the Jesús Cautivo neighborhood of Ocaña, Norte de Santander, where the priest had parked his vehicle.
According to witnesses and security camera footage, the 45-year-old priest was approached by two people who ordered him to get out of the vehicle. When Father Montejo tried to resist, the perpetrators stabbed him twice in the back, then threw him out of the vehicle and ran over him with the same vehicle. The Colombian police say they have arrested the men believed to be responsible for the priest's murder. They are two people of Venezuelan nationality.
"We deeply condemn that irrational violence caused the death of a priest who dedicated his life to spreading the message of Jesus Christ of peace and love. We categorically reject this act of barbarism that threatens not only the life of a human being, but also the fundamental principles of coexistence and humanity," said the Archbishop of Nueva Pamplona and Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Ocaña, Jorge Alberto Ossa Soto, on behalf of the Colombian bishops, condemning the barbaric murder of Father Montejo.
Born in the parish of Teorama (Norte de Santander), Father Montejo was parish priest in San José de Buenavista (Ocaña) and delegate of the Diocesan Commission for Reconciliation and Peace. The Catholic priest was known in the Catatumbo region for participating in humanitarian missions that led to the release of several kidnapped people.
For this reason, Msgr. Soto asked the authorities to fully clarify the circumstances of his murder. The local press raised the question in particular of whether it was a murder following a robbery with a tragic outcome or a contract killing to get rid of a socially committed priest. Colonel Néstor Arévalo, commander of the Norte de Santander Police Directorate, assured that the investigation is continuing, since one of the people arrested was apparently an acquaintance of the priest who had been invited to a meeting at the place where he was killed. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 7/6/2024)