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Alfrery Líctor Cruz Canseco was in the pulpit of the Fraternidad Cristiana church in the municipality of Tlalixtac de Cabrera, when he was shot at point-blank range on 18 August.

His attacker attempted to escape but was prevented from doing so by members of the congregation, and subsequently handed over to the authorities. Pastor Cruz Canseco is reported to have died from his injuries on the way to hospital.

The motive for the murder is not yet known; however, it follows a series of attacks targeting religious leaders, including the enforced disappearance of another pastor, Aarón Méndez Ruiz on 3 August.

The expansion of violent criminal groups in Mexico and the pervading climate of impunity surrounding such crimes has led to an increase in violence against religious leaders. Many criminal groups view church leaders, both Catholic and Protestant, and their influence, as a threat to their power. Religious leaders continue to be threatened, kidnapped and killed, and a lack of proper investigation means perpetrators are rarely brought to justice.

Sources: Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Assist News Service

  • Ask the Lord to comfort the loved ones of Pastor Canseco in their time of grief. Pray too for the members of the Fraternidad Cristiana church.
  • Pray for Pastor Ruiz and his family. Pray the authorities will investigate his disappearance with great urgency. May there be word of him soon.
  • Pray for the perpetrators of the crimes; may the Lord be at work to bring many to repentance and faith.

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