LA PAZ, Bolivia, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Bolivian deputy interior minister Rodolfo Illanes has been killed by striking miners who kidnapped him, director of the Fedecomin radio Moses Flores said Thursday.
Illanes had been kidnapped hours earlier after meeting the miners in Panduro, in an attempt to open a dialogue and end the strike.
"I am in very good health, let my family be reassured," Illanes told a reporter from radio Pio XXII earlier in the day. "I am sitting in a place guarded by the comrades so people don't harm me."
Striking mine workers blockaded a highway this week after their protests for chages to laws were not met. Police had shot and killed two workers as well, miners claimed.
The government feared Illanes might be tortured, before his death was reported. The government has not yet officially confirmed Illanes' death, but witnesses have reported seeing the body.
"We have been able to see close up that vice-minister Illanes was dead. Colleagues told us that he had died of a beating," the director of a mining radio station Moises Flores told local radio.
"We went to the place where deputy minister Illanes was and found him lifeless. We are very scared," Flores was quoted by El Nuevo Herald.