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Jun 29, 2001

Survivor of Peten massacre describes ordeal

More details have emerged in the aftermath of Wednesday’s massacre in Guatemala in which two Belizean Mennonites were killed. It turns out that in addition to the murdered David Thiessen and his son Abraham, a second Thiessen son, twenty-three year old Juan, was also riding in the vehicle when it was attacked by heavily armed assailants. Miraculously, Juan managed to survive the carnage that claimed the lives of nine others, and although wounded, has returned to Belize to tell the tale. According to an interview published in today’s Amandala, Juan lay flat on the floor of the van as bullets filled the vehicle. He watched as his father was killed in the front seat and older brother fatally shot in the rear. The shooting lasted for about ten minutes and Juan suffered a wound to his arm. When the gunmen left, he came out of the van and a passing driver carried him to a hospital in San Benito, Peten. It was only when he was interviewed by police that he learned that nine passengers in two vehicles were dead six others injured. No motive has yet been discovered for the massacre. Robbery has been ruled out as the gunmen just killed and fled.

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