Bolivian minister 'beaten to death by striking mineworkers'
A miner at work in a Bolovian mine (Representative image). Photograph: (Getty)
A Bolivian minister has apparently been beaten to death by striking mineworkers, the government said.
At least 100 people have been arrested in a government crackdown against the perpetrators.
Bolivian Deputy Interior Minister Rodolfo Illanes was on his way to meet the striking miners in Panduro, roughly 160km from the capital, La Paz, before he was abducted.
"At this present time, all indications are that our Deputy Minister Rodolfo Illanes has been brutally and cowardly murdered," said Minister of Government Carlos Romero.
The government is yet to recover Illanes's body.
Defence Minister Reymi Ferreira was reduced to tears when describing how his colleague was "beaten and tortured to death".
"This crime will not go unpunished. Authorities are investigating ... around 100 people have been arrested," Ferreira said.
Illanes's assistant, who was accompanying the deceased, managed to escape the spot. He is being treated at a La Paz hospital.
The mineworkers have been demanding for relaxation in environment rules, permission to work in private companies and increased union representation.
On Wednesday, the protests turned deadly when two workers were gunned down by police officers. At least 17 officers were injured in the showdown with workers.
(WION with inputs from agencies)