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Jun 28, 2001

Two Belizean Mennonites killed in Guatemala

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Two Belizean Mennonites were killed Wednesday morning in what amounted to a massacre in Guatemala’s Peten. Fifty-two year old David Thiessen and his twenty-eight year old son, Abraham Thiessen, were among nine people murdered and seven injured when the two vehicles in which they were driving were ambushed by a group of armed men firing automatic weapons. The incident occurred at kilometre seven on the road from San Benito to La Libertad, in an area southwest of the district capital of Flores. Details are still sketchy as to the motive for the attack, but it appears to be more than just a random highway robbery. One account said the Mennonites were negotiating to buy a farm belonging to Guatemalan Ricardo Morales Flores. Morales himself was gravely wounded in the attack. Sources in Belize’s Mennonite community say the Thiessens, former residents of Shipyard who moved to Indian Creek in the Orange Walk District, were in Guatemala looking for a market to sell beans, while a Guatemalan minister of government has told the daily Prensa Libre that the crime was drug related. The other seven murder victims as well as those injured were all Guatemalans, the majority of whom were said to be bodyguards. One of the vehicles ambushed in the attack was reportedly riddled with over a hundred bullet holes.

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