A pastor was shot dead earlier this month as he left his church in North West Colombia. The slaying is the latest in a string of attacks at the hands of communist militants and has sent shockwaves of fear across the nation’s large Christian population.
Pastor Leider Molina, who was just 24 years old, had just finished up delivering a sermon at his church in Caucasia, Antioquia state, when he was struck by a hail of bullets. Molina was known to be a passionate and energetic youth leader and pastor who worked at a church located roughly 670 kilometers north of the capital, Bogotá.
The Caucasia region has seen an escalation in violence over recent months, as various armed groups fight for control over drug smuggling routes and areas that are rich in narcotic crops.
Unfortunately, pastors who are bold enough to speak out against the illegal and corrosive drugs trade have found themselves in grave danger. Last September, two pastors were murdered in separate incidents — Pastor Galarza, a social and religious leader, was murdered in front of his family. Then, Pastor Elfren Martínez Pérez was gunned down for refusing to assist a paramilitary group with transport.
Earlier in the year, a priest who served a number of parishes in Brooklyn was also killed in Colombia — though this was reported to have been as a result of a robbery.
“Communist guerrillas, paramilitary groups, criminal gangs and drug cartels all see the Church as an enemy to be eradicated because, thanks to the preaching and courageous action of leaders and pastors, many young people have renounced armed conflict and illegal activities,” a regional source told World Watch Monitor.
Many believe that the hardline communist militia, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), are responsible for the recent spate of slayings, which included the murder of two pastors last September.
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SOURCE: Faithwire, Will Maule