A group of unknown militants attacked a Catholic Church Parish in in the municipality of Cañete and burnt it to the ground. This ugly event happened at the early hours 2:00 am of Tuesday 12th April, 2016.
In the scene of the crime, a poster was pasted on the wall which bears a slogan against the Catholic bishop of Villarrica, Bishop Javier Stegmeier. The militants accuse the bishop of working hand-in-hand with the government to oppress and rob them of their ancestral lands.
Since two years now twelve (12) churches have been burnt by the masked militants; ten (10) of the churches are Catholic churches while the remaining two (2) are protestant churches.
This attack is suspected to be from the Mapuche people following the details of the slogan found at the crime’s scene. The nation’s first Mapuche prelate, Bishop Jorge Enrique Concha Cayuqueo, ministers in a different diocese and told a Chilean newspaper that most of the Mapuche people are Catholics, and equally are the victims of the attack.
“The burning of churches is the greatest intolerance ever seen,”
“If they burn one of our churches, we’re going to rebuild it and we’re going to do so with the community. And if there are 13, 14 or 20, we’re going to rebuild them. What cannot be accepted is intolerance, attacking the freedom of religion and the faith,” said Andres Jouannet, the governor of the Araucania region.