Sunday 15 September 2019

Armed police hold two more in weapons quiz

Conor Kane and Gerard Couzens

BOLIVIAN police have arrested two more men in connection with an alleged plot to assassinate president Evo Morales.

Armed officers swooped on the pair after being told they had supplied arms to suspects, including Irishman Michael Dwyer (24).

They were being questioned yesterday in the Bolivian capital La Paz after being driven from the city of Santa Cruz where Mr Dwyer was shot dead during a raid on April 16.

Mr Dwyer's body was released to the family following Monday's post-mortem examination by State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy.

Initial reports suggested he died as a result of a single shotgun wound to the chest, but the full findings may not be released to the Dwyer family for another 15 weeks.

A cross-party commission of Bolivian politicians is carrying out a probe into the shootings and plot allegations.

One of the men arrested yesterday in relation to the alleged assassination plot was named as 48-year-old Juan Carlos Gueder Bruno, an activist with a militant neo-fascist group based in Santa Cruz called the Santa Cruz Youth Union.

The other man, thought to be from Paraguay, has not been named.

Last night Juan Carlos's niece told how six men stopped her uncle's car as he went to pick up his children from school with his wife Martha.

Alejandra Ibanez said: "They jumped out of a white Land Cruiser that cut up my uncle's car. One forced Martha to lie face down on the ground while he pointed his weapon at her and the others bundled Juan Carlos into the van."

Marcelo Sosa, the state prosecutor in charge of the investigation into the shootings of Dwyer and two friends, confirmed the arrests but declined to give details.

Last night hundreds of mourners attended Mr Dwyer's removal. Funeral Mass will be conducted today by Fr Michael Cooney.

Meanwhile, a group of United Nations independent experts on mercenaries voiced their deep concern over reports that five people were involved in a plot to overthrow the government of Bolivia.

The UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries stressed that it was not expressing its opinions at this stage on the facts of the case, but noted that using mercenaries to overthrow UN member states' governments is an offence of grave concern.

The group also called on "the government of Bolivia, as well on the countries whose nationals were allegedly involved in the plot, to fully investigate this incident".

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