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Colombia: Murdered evangelist’s widow also killed after threats
ICC Note:
Two years ago Evangelist Nelson Ramos was martyred. His wife and three children continued to serve the Lord in his absence. Four months ago, the same group that killed him began sending threats to his wife. During a family devotion time the assassins stormed into the house and shot the widow, Alicia Castilla, in front of her children. The children have been threatened that if they do not leave town in the next three days that they will be next.
01/09/13 Columbia (WWM) -Four months after guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN) sent a murdered evangelist’s wife their first demand to abandon her home in northeast Colombia’s volatile Arauca department, the militants made good on their threats, report sources close to Open Doors, a ministry to persecuted Christians.
On Monday, Jan 7th 2013, as the family’s pastor finished an evening devotional in the home of widow Alicia Castilla, assassins entered the home and opened fire on her with pistols, killing her instantly in front of her three children and her father.
An Open Doors worker who cannot be named for security reasons told World Watch Monitor that before leaving the home, the guerrillas told Castilla’s son, 18-year-old Hernán, that the rest of the family had three days to leave the region. After that, the killers warned, they would return and one by one kill other family members.
Castilla’s death follows the murder of her husband, lay evangelist Nelson Ramos, two years before, in January 2011, also at the hands of the ELN. The armed rebel group holds a virtual sway of terror over the area.
Although local government authorities are mandated to remove murder victims from crime scenes, they refused to handle Castilla’s body, fearing reprisals from the ELN insurgents. Finally funeral home workers retrieved her body.
“The local authorities understand who the guerrillas consider their enemy, and they prefer not to visit certain places,” the Open Doors worker said.
Founded in 1964, the ELN is one of several illegal armed groups fighting for control of the rich petroleum resources in this area along Colombia’s eastern-central border with Venezuela.
“The ELN believe that Christians are brainwashed with the Bible, and that they will never support their revolution,” the Open Doors worker said. The militants are also suspicious that Christians are spies and informants for the government, and complain that they give funds to their churches and refuse to support rebel activities.
“They also notice that when Christians fast and pray, the guerrillas’ violent plans against them are oddly stopped!”

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