Luigino Bracci Roa – Yvke Mundial, with reporting from ABI & Erbol
Monday, September 15, 2008 12:08 p.m.
Cobija, Pando. – Early this morning, the [Bolivian] Armed Forces captured a large amount of weaponry stashed in private homes in the city of Cobija, capital of Pando department, where 10 people were also arrested, presumably for their direct involvement in the massacre of peasants on September 11 in El Porvenir and Filadelfia.
In an operation that lasted the entire night, a machine-gun, a telescopic hunting rifle, four rifles, two revolvers and a number of boxes of cartridges, bullets and canisters for explosives were also seized.
“A .22 long caliber rifle with scope, a .38 caliber revolver and a (9 mm) machine-gun, as well as a number of boxes of double-action bullets, which penetrate and explode inside the body, and extra sharp cartridges for scoped rifles were seized,” said General Walter Panozo, Commander of the Pando Emergency Command. Panozo said that the explosive capacity of the majority of the weaponry seized from private homes would allow for people to be brought down immediately.”
The weaponry, which is presumed to have been part of the material used in the massacre of the peasants on September 11, was found in restaurants, certain hotels and other private property.
At dawn, sixty soldiers raided the house of one of the main local opposition leaders, Ana Melena de Suzuki, after dynamiting the entrance to her home. According to neighbors, the soldiers went through each of the rooms before finally taking out a computer in her absence.
The President of the Pando Civic Committee is accused by the government and the Pando peasant sector of having been one of the main instigators of the September 11 massacre of the people of El Porvenir and Filadelfia, where at least 30 people died.
Two Arrested in Filadelfia
The Executive Branch also confirmed that two people suspected of having participated in the massacre carried out by paramilitaries linked to the department’s Prefecture were arrested Sunday morning in Filadelfia, Pando. The Health and Sports Minister, Ramiro Tapia, who is heading a humanitarian aid mission in Porvenir and Filadelfia confirmed that local residents identified the suspects who were arrested by soldiers from the Armed Forces.
“In Filadelfia, two suspects have been arrested who are presumed to have been involved in the killings,” he said.
“The comrades from this region have identified two people who allegedly participated and encouraged [the killings]. It’s my understanding that the two arrested must go through the necessary processing in order to make a complete analysis of the deaths that have occurred in our country,” said the Minister.
The Minister said that after the Armed Forces assumed control of the city of Cobija and the humanitarian mission arrived, peace and tranquility returned to the region, despite the attempt of a group of motorcycle-driven taxis to try to generate violence. He explained that it had been established that 14 peasants were killed by the impact from bullets, an (unquantified) number wounded, and more than 50 people missing, whom are presumed to have fled to other communities in the region.
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