January 12, 2018: Discovery of man killed by Paraguayan leftists

On this day in 2018, the body of a Mennonite farmer was discovered in a mass grave in the northern Paraguayan province of San Pedro.

MANITOBA, PARAGUAY – Why is it that some religious communities never seem to get away from persecution?

Growing up in southern Ontario I became aware of a Mennonite community not too far down the highway near Kitchener (fun fact #1: Kitchener used to be called Berlin, after its large German community, but had its name changed in 1916 in a referendum – i.e. during WWI when Canada was at war with Germany). As a Roman Catholic I did not know a lot about the Mennonites to be honest, but they were known for their farm products (fun fact #2: the word ‘Mennonite‘ comes from a 16th century ex-Catholic priest named Menno Simons who led a group which rejected infant baptism – hence the other name for them, the Anabaptists (‘rebaptised‘ as adults)).

Doing our part to stop greenhouse gases…well, except for horse farts! (Photo: Brian Ridgway on flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Mennonites have often been on the move, sometimes in response to persecution in their homelands. The bunch that came to southwestern Ontario originated in Pennsylvania and came north in the 1700s. Some later saw Canada as not welcoming enough and left again, this time for Paraguay in the early 20th century. There they became the target of terrorists.

On this day in 2018

The body of a Mennonite farmer, Abraham Fehr, was discovered in a mass grave in the northern province of San Pedro: he had been kidnapped more than two years earlier by members of the Communist Army of the Paraguayan People (EPP – Ejercito del Pueblo Paraguayo). Fehr’s two children were also taken but soon released. The EPP have taken hostage many Mennonites in the region: they killed Fehr despite a US$100,000 ransom payment.

Es difícil para nosotros creer que está vivo, pensamos que ya no existe más Abrahán. (“It is hard for us to believe he is still alive: we think Abraham is no longer with us”)

Fehr’s brother

Why a leftist guerrilla group would want to abduct and kill a Mennonite farmer is hard to fathom. Then again, terrorism often makes no sense.

Read More Today in Terrorism

Listen to the Latest Borealis Podcast

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

Leave a Reply