The man in the center of this photo, Leopoldo Fernández, is on the run after paramilitaries in the Bolivian department he governs, Pando, ambushed and slaughtered at least 30 and possibly as many as 70 men, women and children.
Bolivia: Death Toll Reaches 30 in Massacre. Government Unable to Capture Fugitive Prefect
YVKE Mundial (Luigino Bracci Roa), with information from Erbol and ABI
Bolivian military forces finally took control of Cobija, capital of Pando Department, but they have not apprehended the prefect, Leopoldo Fernández, whose detention was ordered on Saturday. It’s feared that the final number of those killed in last Thursday’s massacre may be much higher.
Sunday, September 14, 2008, 8:27 a.m.
Early this morning the Bolivian Armed Forces took complete control of the city of Cobija, capital of Pando Department, where a state of siege had been declared last Friday after an ambush and slaughter that took the lives of many peasants.
The first unofficial reports indicated that armed separatist groups who controlled the city, at the command of Pando’s prefect, Leopoldo Fernández, did not offer much resistance. The operation took place between one and two in the morning today, September 14.
The first reports from the Erbol Network indicated that the military operation has taken control of practically the entire city and that shortly a commission will head for Porvenir where the massacre of peasants took place last Thursday. Until now, Pando’s prefect, and the armed civilian groups that he commanded had obstructed the entry of humanitarian organizations to the scene, and while initial reports mentioned 8 deaths, the figure has increased as the days have gone by. Continue reading