A declined demand for a baptismal service may have cost him his life
Chilpancingo, Guerrero -
While Mexican authorities continue efforts to identify bones, ash and teeth recovered from Cocula, Guerrero last week, narcofosas all over the state continue to yield new evidence of the drug cartel brutality carried out daily in this Pacific coast state, most by Guerreros Unidos, according to the state's chief prosecutor.
John Ssenyondo, a Roman Catholic priest assigned to the Chilpancingo-Chilapa diocese, disappeared last May. Today Church authorities reported that his remains, discovered two weeks ago in one of several concealed graves near Chilapa, have been identified.
Chilapa de Álvarez, as it is officially known, is 55 kilometers from this often violent capital.
Fr. Ssenyondo arrived in the endemically poor area in 2010. Only a portion of his cranium was found, a diocesan spokesman said today.
Sources close to the investigation claim the priest was kidnapped by armed gunmen after he had refused to baptize the child of a local organized crime figure. Such crimes are not uncommon in Mexico. Violence against Catholic clergy reported in border state of Tamaulipas.
The Cocula remains have been sent to forensic investigators at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, where a team will attempt identification. Mexico's attorney general said last week the government believes they are the 43 missing students who were kidnapped and presumably executed in Iguala, Guerrero on Sept. 26. Another 30 incinerated bodies discovered in early October in graves near a village just outside Iguala continue to be the focus of law enforcement attention. U.S. laboratory the Bode Technology Group has completed tests on 24 and concluded none are those of the students. Who the victims are and why they were killed is yet a mystery.
At the end of a week when prominent U.S. and foreign newspapers published editorials insisting that Mexico immediately federalize local law enforcement, Secretary of Government Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong - the most powerful member of president Enrique Peña Nieto's cabinet and the occupant of a post often regarded as the nation's officially nonexistent vice presidency - indirectly dismissed the notion, warning Guerrero authorities that maintaining security was their obligation, not Mexico City's.
"We will do our part, but both counties and states must carry out their own legal responsibilities, which the federal government cannot replace," said Osorio Chong.
Mexico's criminal justice system operates much like that in the United States, where prosecutorial jurisdiction is divided between federal and state courts, depending upon the offense. But procedural rules and the manner in which trials are conducted was made the subject of a uniform national code earlier this year, one of Peña Nieto's many institutional reforms designed to eliminate arbitrariness in local tribunals. Mexico enacts uniform criminal procedure code for the first time in its history.
In late January American motorcyclist and adventurer Harry Devert disappeared along the Guerrero- Michoacán border. He was killed by a regional cartel boss, according to a citizen self-defense militia which operates in the area.
Dec. 26 - Catholic priest kidnapped in Guerrero found murdered
Nov. 9 - Narcofosas are not just in Guerrero: La Barca, Jalisco, at one year
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