Monday 15 October 2018

TV crew threatened by farmers wielding machetes

Lynne Kelleher AN Irish TV crew have revealed how they were nearly lynched by angry machete-wielding locals while filming a documentary in Guatemala.

Former 'No Frontiers' presenter Christy Kenneally told of his horror when a man approached him, machete in hand, mistaking the film crew for government officials by the South American farmers.

They threatened to attack the Irish film crew believing they were trying to speculate on their land while the Irish TV crew filmed a series on the world's ancient tribes called 'The Lost Gods'.

Mr Kenneally, who has filmed in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Mali, Kenya, Egypt and Mexico for RTÉ and TG4, said he had never been so fearful for his life.

Political

"We had gone there with the best of intentions to film farmers in the countryside as part of a programme about this fascinating faith, but found we'd walked in to a highly sensitive political situation, potentially endangering our lives," the broadcaster said.

"We realised later that the native Indian people, the Chichis, thought we were government officers looking to take over their sacred lands.

"Rightly or wrongly, they think that the land is rich in oil, gold and silver and that the government wants to move them from their villages to start mining," he said.

The Corkman and author was working on the series's latest episode, The Maya, which will be broadcast on TG4, when he walked into the volatile situation.

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