The body of a Roman Catholic priest from Uganda who went missing in southwestern Mexico has been found in a mass grave as authorities searched for the remains of 43 missing trainee teachers, the local diocese said.
The remains of the priest, identified as John Ssenyondo, were dug up about a week ago and identified by the recovered skull as well as dental records. He had been missing since May, the state attorney general’s office said.
Ssenyondo had been abducted on April 30 by unknown gunmen, who blocked a road and forced him into their car.
“It [the body] was found in a mass grave with six other bodies,” a spokesperson for the diocese of Chilpancingo-Chilapa, in the troubled southwestern state of Guerrero, said.
Guerrero is the state in which the government says the trainee teachers were abducted in late September by corrupt police in league with a drug gang.
Ssenyondo was allegedly abducted by armed men after refusing to baptise a girl who was suspected of being the daughter of a local gangster, the spokesperson added.
The priest had been serving in the mostly indigenous area of Guerrero since 2010.
The state attorney general’s office said the priest had been reported missing, but could not confirm that his remains had been identified.
Ssenyondo’s facebook page shows that his last post was made on March 6 and that he lived in Cuernavaca, the capital and largest city of the state of Morelos in Mexico.
The government has detained more than 70 people in connection with the disappearance of the students from the southwestern city of Iguala.
On Thursday, a judge in Guerrero charged the city’s former mayor, Jose Luis Abarca, accused of being the mastermind behind the students’ disappearance, with the murder of six people killed in clashes between the trainees, police and masked gunmen on the night of Sept. 26.