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Entire City to Undergo Exorcism via Helicopter

Move comes after girl's murder in Buenaventura, Colombia
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2019 7:40 AM CDT
Children play as Navy Special Forces patrol in Buenaventura, Colombia’s main port city on the Pacific coast, on March 28, 2014.   (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

(Newser) – A Colombian port city plagued by violent crime is about to get an exorcism. The bishop of Buenaventura, Monsignor Rubén Darío Jaramillo Montoya, will hop in a helicopter Sunday in order to sprinkle holy water over the streets while reciting a prayer meant to expel demonic spirits. In 2014, Human Rights Watch described Buenaventura as Colombia's most dangerous city, one "dominated by powerful criminal groups" that would go so far as to dismember people while they were still alive. The situation has since improved in some areas thanks to an increased police presence and an established "humanitarian zone," per Newsweek. Still, there were 51 homicides in the first five months of the year—up 20 compared to the same period in 2018, reports the Guardian.

"It will be a great public demonstration for the entire community," Montoya says of the exorcism, which will coincide with the feast day of Buenaventura's patron saint. Per the Guardian, it comes after a 10-year-old girl was tortured and killed in the city of 400,000. "We have to drive the devil out of Buenaventura, to see if we can restore the peace and tranquility that our city has lost due to so many crimes, acts of corruption, and with so much evil and drug trafficking that invades our port," Montoya told a local radio station, per the Guardian. While exorcisms are usually one-on-one affairs, the paper notes that a prayer created in 1890 by Pope Leo XIII can be used in cases of "demonic infestation." Colombia's navy will reportedly provide the helicopter. (Read the stories of one of Rome's busiest exorcists.)

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