Two Catholic priests have been kidnapped and killed in the Mexican state of Velacruz.

In a statement, the Roman Catholice diocese of Papantla has confirmed the violent deaths of Fr Alejo Nabor Jiménez Juárez and Fr José Alfredo Suárez de la Cruz.

According to information gathered by Agenzia Fides, a first report of the Office of the Attorney General of Veracruz state indicates that the two priests were kidnapped last Sunday evening, 18th September, from the parish of Nuestra Senora de Fatima, in the extreme outskirts of the city of Poza Rica, in the northern part of the Veracruz state.

Their lifeless bodies were found yesterday morning, Monday, 19th September, at the side of the road that connects Papantla to Poza Rica. A collaborator of the priests, who worked as a sacristan and driver, was also kidnapped, and fortunately was found alive. The area was the scene of violent clashes between drug cartels for years, but it is still not clear why the two priests were killed.

Mgr José Trinidad Zapata Ortiz, Bishop of Papantla, said in a statement he was "dismayed" by their deaths. "Once more we see that violence and insecurity have taken root in our society..."

"We condemn all forms of violence and pray for the conversion of those who forget that we are brothers and cause suffering and death. The path of violence and crime generates even more violence. God does not want death, neither violence nor injustice. God wants life, God wants everyone to live in justice, dignity and peace."