Molina was known as a passionate preacher and an active youth leader working for his church and city, 670km north of the capital Bogotá, according to one local source.
The Caucasia region has suffered an escalation in violence for the last 4 months, according to the source. Armed groups fight for control of drug trafficking routes and the ownership of illicit crops.
“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,” the source said.
Last September two other pastors in the region were killed. Pastor Galarza, a social and religious leader, was shot dead in front of his family. Pastor Elfren Martínez Pérez, 55, was murdered outside his home after he refused to help members of a neo-paramilitary group with transport.
The church in the area is terrified, according to the source. “Some Christians have fled with their families, while others have decided to stay awaiting government intervention. Church leaders, however, continue their work despite the death threats,” said the source.
Despite the 2016 peace agreement between the Colombian government and the country’s largest armed group, the FARC, killings have not stopped.
Source: World Watch Monitor
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