|Bolivian policemen clash with miners near a blocked road in Panduro, Bolivia|
A Bolivian government minister has been beaten to death by striking mineworkers after being kidnapped. Rodolf Illanes, deputy interior minister, had gone to talk to protesting workers on Thursday in Panduro, around 160km (100 miles) from the capital, La Paz, but was intercepted and kidnapped.
“At this present time, all the indications are that our deputy minister Rodolfo Illanes has been brutally and cowardly assassinated,” minister of government Carlos Romero said in broadcast comments. The government was trying to recover his body, Romero said. Reymi Ferreira, the defence minister, said that Illanes had been “savagely beaten” to death by the striking miners.
He broke down on television as he described how Illanes, appointed to his post in March, had apparently been “beaten and tortured to death”. Illanes’ assistant had escaped and was being treated in a hospital in La Paz, he said.
|Deputy interior Minister, Rodolf Illanes|
“This crime will not go unpunished. Authorities are investigating ... around 100 people have been arrested,” Ferreira said. Moises Flores, the director of a mining radio station, later told local radio: “We have been able to see close up that vice-minister Illanes was dead. Colleagues told us that he had died of a beating.”
Protests by miners in Bolivia demanding changes to laws turned violent this week after a highway was blockaded. Two workers were killed on Wednesday after being shot by police, and the government said 17 police officers had been wounded.