Bolivia: Striking miners kill deputy minister; govt calls it 'cowardly and brutal killing'

Striking miners in Bolivia kidnapped and beat to death the country's deputy interior minister after he traveled to the area to mediate in the bitter conflict over mining laws, officials said.

AP August 26, 2016 13:12:31 IST
Bolivia: Striking miners kill deputy minister; govt calls it 'cowardly and brutal killing'

La Paz (Bolivia): Striking miners in Bolivia kidnapped and beat to death the country's deputy interior minister after he traveled to the area to mediate in the bitter conflict over mining laws, officials said.

Government Minister Carlos Romero called it a "cowardly and brutal killing" and asked that the body of deputy minister Rodolfo Illanes be turned over to authorities.

Illanes, whose formal title is vice minister of the interior regime, was "savagely beaten" to death by the striking miners, Defense Minister Reymi Ferreira told Red Uno television, his voice breaking.

Earlier, Romero had said that Illanes had been kidnapped and possibly tortured, but wasn't able to confirm reports that he had been killed by the striking informal miners, who are demanding the right to associate with private companies, among other issues.

Bolivia Striking miners kill deputy minister govt calls it cowardly and brutal killing

Independent miners clash with the police as they run from clouds of tear gas during protests in Panduro, Bolivia, Thursday. AP

The fatal beating follows the killings of two protesters in clashes with police, deaths that likely escalated tensions in the strike.

Illanes had gone to Panduro, 130 kilometers south of the La Paz, to open a dialogue with the striking miners, who have blockaded a highway there since Monday. Thousands of passengers and vehicles are stranded on roads blocked by the strikers.

Officials say he was taken hostage by the miners yesterday morning. At midday, Illanes said on his Twitter account: "My health is fine, my family can be calm." There are reports that he had heart problems.

Bolivia's informal or artisan miners number about 100,000 and work in self-managed cooperatives. They want to be able to associate with private companies, which is prohibited. The government argues that if they associate with multinational companies they would cease to be cooperatives.

The National Federation of Mining Cooperatives of Bolivia, once strong allies of President Evo Morales, went on an indefinite protest after negotiations over the mining legislation failed.

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Latin America grappling with a 'decline of democracy' under coronavirus pandemic
World

Latin America grappling with a 'decline of democracy' under coronavirus pandemic

The gradual undermining of democratic rules during an economic crisis and a public health catastrophe could leave Latin America primed for slower growth and an increase in corruption and human rights abuses

Soldier missing in Kulgam may have been abducted by militants, says army; burnt vehicle retrieved
India

Soldier missing in Kulgam may have been abducted by militants, says army; burnt vehicle retrieved

A search operation is reportedly being conducted by the police in Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag districts, according to media reports