Striking miners kill deputy minister in Bolivia

2016-08-26 07:36
Independent miners clash with the police as they run from clouds of tear gas during protests in Panduro, Bolivia. (AP)

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

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

La Paz - 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 his deputy, 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, Defence 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.

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 km 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 on Thursday 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.

Read more on:    bolivia

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.