Bolivian deputy minister killed

Rodolfo Illanes
Updated 26 August 2016

Bolivian deputy minister killed

LA PAZ, Bolivia: Striking Bolivian miners kidnapped and beat to death the country’s deputy interior minister in a shocking spasm of violence following weeks of tension over dwindling paychecks in a region hit hard by falling metal prices. The miners were demanding they be allowed to work for private companies, who promise to put more cash in their pockets.
The issue has bedeviled President Evo Morales, who began as a champion of the working class and privatized the nation’s mining industry, only to see his support crater amid the downturn. Miners say Morales has become a shill of the rich, and done little to help them make ends meet as the economy slows.
Deputy Minister Rodolfo Llanes had traveled Thursday to the scene of the violent protests in an effort to negotiate with the strikers who armed themselves with dynamite seized several highways.
Instead, Illanes was “savagely beaten” to death by miners, Defense Minister Reymi Ferreira told Red Uno television, his voice breaking.
Government Minister Carlos Romero called it a “cowardly and brutal killing” and asked that the body of Illanes, whose formal title is vice minister of the interior regime, be turned over to authorities.
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.
“This is a political conspiracy,” Morales said at a news conference on Friday. Calling for three days of official mourning, he criticized the “cowardly attitude” of the protesters and insisted that his government had “always been open” to negotiation.
The fatal beating came after the killings of two protesters in clashes with police, deaths that likely fueled the tensions.
Illanes had gone to Panduro, 80 miles (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.


36 people missing after boat sinks in Congo river: DRC police

Updated 15 September 2019

36 people missing after boat sinks in Congo river: DRC police

  • Seventy-six people survived after the vessel went down overnight on the outskirts of the capital

KINSHASA, Congo: Thirty-six people are missing after a boat sank in the Congo river on the outskirts of Kinshasa, DR Congo police said on Sunday.

The vessel, which was travelling to the capital, went down overnight in Maluku commune, about 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the centre of the city. Seventy-six people survived, police wrote on Twitter.

"The cause of the accident is not yet known," police spokesperson Colonel Pierrot-Rombaut Mwanamputu told AFP. Lake and river transport is widely used in Democratic Republic of Congo as the highway system is poor, but accidents are common, often caused by overloading and the unsafe state of vessels.

The boat involved was called a "baleiniere" or "whaler" - a commonly-used flat-bottomed vessel between 15 to 30 metres (50 to 100 feet) long by two to six metres wide.

In the vast majority of accidents, passengers are not equipped with life jackets and many cannot swim.