Friday, August 26, 2016

Bolivian Deputy Interior Minister 'Beaten to Death by Striking Miners' During Protests Over Laws
07:44, 26 AUG 2016

Rodolfo Illanes, 56, is believed to have been kidnapped and tortured after going to talk to protesters on Thursday

A Bolivian politician has been beaten to death by striking miners after being kidnapped, local media reported.

Deputy Interior Minister Rodolfo Illanes is believed to have been abducted and tortured after he went to talk to protesters on Thursday in Panduro, around 100 miles from the capital La Paz.

The 56-year-old's death has not been officially confirmed.

Bolivian state prosecutor Ramiro Guerrero said: "We still have not confirmed the situation of this official, if he is alive or deceased."

However, a local radio station director claimed to have seen Illanes dead.

Moises Flores, the director of a mining radio station, said: "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 Bolivian miners 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.

The National Federation of Mining Cooperatives of Bolivia (FENCOMIN), once strong allies of leftist President Evo Morales, began what they said would be an indefinite protest after negotiations over mining legislation failed.

Protesters have been demanding more mining concessions, the right to work for private companies, and greater union representation.

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