BosNewsLife Americas Service
BOGOTA, COLOMBIA (BosNewsLife)-- A guerrilla leader who was responsible for the murder of a Colombian pastor has been released from prison, and is now seeking to find the pastor's grieving widow, Christian rights investigators say.
The killer returned to the remote community where Luz and her children were residing, telling neighbours that he wanted to find her, said Christian support group Voice Of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC).
Within a few days of his release, armed men also stopped by the farm in search of the young mother, Christians said. Luz was reportedly pregnant with twins when her husband suddenly went missing back in 2007.
“Even more grievous is the fact that those involved in the heinous crime returned his dismembered body in black plastic trash bags to the traumatized family. Since the killer's release, Luz and her three children have been moved to a safe location,”. Her name and that of the pastor were not immediately released apparently amid security concerns.
However Christians say Colombia has long been overrun with violent Marxist guerrilla groups, drug cartels and right-wing paramilitary groups. “Although a strong government has stabilized the nation in recent years, the country remains volatile and dangerous. Leftist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries both seem to have abandoned their ideological agendas...to form gangs that are profiting from cocaine and kidnapping,” VOMC told BosNewsLife in a statement.
Those who oppose this illegal activity are targeted.
HISTORY OF CRIME
Despite Colombia's history of crime, lawlessness, terror and murder, the church continues to grow at “an incredible rate”, VOMC said. “And with the 1991 constitution, greater freedom was granted to ethnic and religious minorities.”
The greatest "denominational growth" has been within indigenous Colombian churches, church observers say. Local, citywide and national “evangelistic outreaches” have resulted in large increases in numbers of congregations and believers, according to VOMC investigators. “Some churches have grown a thousand-fold over the past two decades,” the group added.
VOMC stressed this growth also “reflects God's ability to dramatically transform the lives” of guerrilla leaders such as Elmer who said he was indoctrinated into Marxism and Leninism from a very young age...I killed many Christians, displaced them from their lands and persecuted them and would not allow them to meet,” while being part of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), he said.
However “I had an encounter with God when I was fleeing from the government soldiers,” he claimed in video footage released by VOMC and seen by BosNewsLife. He now runs a Christian radio station from his home and distributes radios and Christian literature.
Elmer views himself as the 21th century-version of Apostle Paul, who the Bible says also persecuted Christians before being transformed by faith in Jesus Christ.