Mexican authorities search for bodies and missing tourists after priests died in church

MEXICO CITY, June 21 (Reuters) – Mexican authorities said on Tuesday they were searching for the bodies of three people, including two Jesuit priests, as well as four people abducted in a violent part of northern Mexico.

The Chihuahua state attorney’s office, along the US border, said in a statement it received a report on Monday that three people were killed in the town of Cerocahui after a man took refuge in a church to protect themselves from attack.

Authorities later said the man, identified as a tour guide, was “taken” to the church.

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“They entered the church, chased a person and murdered him. Apparently the priests came out and they were also killed,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told reporters on Tuesday during his press conference. usual in the morning, after being questioned about the murders.

The bodies of the three men were then taken away by a group of men in the back of a van, Luis Gerardo Moro, Jesuit leader in Mexico, said in a radio interview.

Moro said the Jesuits hoped to hear from Pope Francis about the situation and that two priests stayed at the church in the small town in the Sierra Tarahumara mountain range, home to the indigenous Raramuri group and growing violence from cartels.

State authorities said the killings followed a 911 call in the same city on Monday morning reporting the abduction of two men, a woman and a child, who remain missing.

The four tourists were abducted from a hotel in the city, a police source who asked not to be identified told Reuters.

The Federal Security Ministry said Tuesday afternoon that a suspect in the murders had been identified.

“The investigation is progressing, and I assure you all that we will take this to the ultimate consequences,” state Governor Maria Eugenia Campos said at a press conference on Tuesday.

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Reporting by Tomas Bravo, Kylie Madry and Raul Cortes; Additional reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez and Lizbeth Diaz; Written by Valentine Hilaire; Editing by David Alire Garcia and Bill Berkrot

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