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May 16, 2016

A Fire on George Plett’s Farm Triggered Kidnapping of Mennonite Farmer

We break from Plett’s mesmerizing account of his kidnapping to take you on the ground for some real time perspective. As we told you, the Plett farm lies on the border with Guatemala, and a fire is what apparently led to last Thursday’s unexpected and dangerous encounter. Our News Team went hiking through still burning trees and ashes today to reach the site of the detention and incredibly, the actual border with Guatemala. Here’s that story with Mike Rudon and cameraman Jorge Tabora.

Mike Rudon, Reporting
These fires captured by footage from Roger Plett’s drone are what allegedly led to his detention last Thursday. According to reports from Guatemala’s Prensa Libre, Mennonites started the fire which destroyed Guatemalan forest.

From the ground, on Plett’s farm, you can see the fire-breaks which were created by a tractor and bulldozer working together. The entire area is still smoldering, some places covered with ash a foot deep. We hiked through it to the spot where Roger Plett was stopped by Guatemalans, his tractor damaged by soldiers and civilians. He’s still feet away from the tree-line which we were told marks the border with Guatemala. Plett’s employee, Manuel Ayala was there that day and showed us the exact location.

Being a naturally skeptical set, we wanted to see for ourselves that we were actually in Belizean territory. So off we wandered into the treeline, not exactly a death defying date with destiny but an uneasy experience. Were we being watched by Guatemalan kaibiles just waiting to make their move?

We may never know because we didn’t see any. But just feet into the bush we reached this clearing about ten feet wide. We figure five feet is Guatemala, five feet is Belize. That seems fair enough. So we stayed on our five feet until we can upon this – an actual cement border marker – without incident.

It was a hell of an unexpected border expedition, and it answered some questions but raised more. The fire was clearly within Belizean territory, going strictly by the marker and cleared line – well within Belizean territory. So clearly Guatemalans came into Belizean territory. And a Belizean was seized on Belizean territory and taken into Guatemala.

So obviously there is a high level and intensive investigation underway. And obviously the O.A.S. has been called in. A protest note dispatched? Well see, here’s the thing. This incident happened last Thursday. The media were the first to go back to the site today – no Police, no B.D.F., no O.A.S., no officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. No release has been forthcoming from the Ministry either. Not one.

But the San Ignacio Police did act. They detained Manuel Ayala over the weekend, accusing him of a mischievous act. We’ll have that later in our newscast. Mike Rudon for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “A Fire on George Plett’s Farm Triggered Kidnapping of Mennonite Farmer”

  1. CEO says:

    “Mischievous Act”; no sh it?

    Really! Who is this stupid?

    Arrest the media also for their mischievous act of informing the public about the dam cover up too then!

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