Bolivian deputy interior minister killed by miners

Independent miners block a main highway during a protest against Bolivia's President Evo Morales' government policies, in PanduroBolivian Deputy Interior Minister Rodolfo Illanes was beaten to death by striking mineworkers after being kidnapped, local media reported on Thursday, citing a radio station director who said he saw his body.

His death has not been confirmed officially.

The government had earlier said that the 56-year-old Illanes had been kidnapped and was at risk of being tortured in Panduro, around 160 km (100 miles) from capital La Paz.

“We have been able to see close up that vice-minister Illanes was dead. Colleagues told us that he had died of a beating,” Moises Flores, the director of a mining radio station, told local radio.

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.

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. (Courtesy Reuters)

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