Father Habacuc Hernandez and seminary students Eduardo Oregon Benitez and Silvestre Gonzalez were shot dead by gunmen over the weekend while driving through the town of Arcelia in southwestern Mexico. According to the Archbishop of Acapulco Felipe Aguirre Franco, the victims were in the area to help organize a spiritual retreat when they were ordered out of their car and killed. There seems to be no specific motive for the murders other than the fact that the clergy were caught up in the confrontation between rival drug gangs operating in the state of Guerrero.
Tensions between the Church and the drug cartels recently escalated after the Archbishop of Durango claimed everybody knew where Mexico's most wanted man and alleged cartel leader, Joaquin Guzman, lived but authorities were doing nothing about it. The Mexican government, however, refuted the archbishop’s claim and he has remained silent since he made the statement. No direct connection can be established between both incidents.
Archbishop Aguirre Franco was quoted by Mexican media saying "The law of the jungle, the law of the revolver, of the gun, the settling of accounts, the spilling of blood” reigns in Mexico now. The Bishops’ Conference of Mexico issued a statement condemning “the violence that has slammed our country” and demanded that “officials at all levels of government carry out a prompt investigation and find those responsible for this cowardly crime.”