These images show a Catholic bishop touring around a city on a fire engine to carry out a huge exorcism and boot “demons” from the area.
Bishop Ruben Dario Jaramillo Montoya recently made headlines when he said he wanted to fly above the city of Buenaventura, a municipality in the western Colombian department of Valle del Cauca, in a helicopter to pour holy water onto its streets.
The Bishop of Buenaventura has now toured the city’s streets on a fire engine dousing the tarmac with holy water.
The bishop is said to have visited 12 different points in the city where massacres, murders, shootings and other violent incidents had taken place.
According to local media, the first stop of this “exorcism”, as the bishop himself called it, was the Las Palmas neighbourhood which has reportedly been under the control of gangs for years and has seen dozens of youngsters killed.
Local business owners are reportedly forced to pay gangs running rackets and residents are preyed on by loan sharks who kill clients who miss one payment.
The bishop said: “We know that Christ gives us a new life and with this sign of blessing to our city we want the violence to stop so that we can live in peace.
“We have had 54 violent deaths so far this year, but there are a lot of people disappearing and that part is not reported on. The problem is that there is not a culture of reporting because there is fear, we have a society that is scared of reporting.”
The bishop made international headlines earlier this year when he told local radio station Blu Radio: “We want to go around the whole of Buenaventura, from the air, and pour holy water onto it to see if we exorcise and get out all those demons that are destroying our port, so that God’s blessing comes and gets rid of all the wickedness that is in our streets.
“Buenaventura should have the Devil taken away so that we can see if we can get back the tranquillity the city has lost with all this crime, wickedness and the drug trafficking that is hitting our port.”
Local media report the National Army supported the bishop’s plan and had offered him the use of a helicopter to carry it out, but it is unclear if the plan was ever carried out.
According to the data from Legal Medicine in Colombia, between January and April this year 213 minors were killed in the country, and 7,142 children and teenagers were the victims of sexual violence during the same time.
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Story By: Ana Lacasa, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
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