Colombia: Pentecostal Pastor Shot Dead
Christian Solidarity Worldwide is calling for a full investigation into the murder of pastor Henry Rodriguez, 44, who was shot dead as he exited United Pentecostal Church in Bogota, Colombia, on September 16. The reasons behind the murder are unknown, but according to local press reports, witnesses said it was carried out by what appeared to be professional hit men. Pastor Rodriguez was leaving the church after an afternoon service when he was shot multiple times by two men on a moped, a method commonly used in professional hits in Colombia. Hospital staff were unable to resuscitate him. While the assassination of a pastor is extremely unusual in Bogota, countrywide church leaders are frequently targeted by illegal armed groups. The Colombian Council of Evangelical Churches Peace Commission estimates that on average, 20 to 30 church leaders are killed each year. In general, leaders are targeted because of their refusal to cooperate or support the objectives of the illegal armed groups; however, the reasons behind the murder of Pastor Rodriguez are unclear, as he had not reported receiving any threats prior to Sunday. Rodriguez, who was on course to graduate from seminary in October, is survived by his wife and three children.