Bolivia arrests opposition governor on charge of genocide 2008-09-17 10:31:30   Print

    LIMA, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- An opposition governor was arrested in Bolivia on charges of killing 30 people during last week's political rebellion in the northern province of Pando, Bolivian President Evo Morales said on Tuesday.

    Leopoldo Fernandez was arrested Tuesday at 10:45 local time (1545 GMT) by Bolivian military troops in Cobija, capital of Pando. The governor, supposedly to be transferred to La Paz, did not resist the arrest, said reports reaching here from La Paz.

    The General Prosecutor's Office accused Fernandez of being the head of a conspiracy, which led to the killing of at least 30 pro-Morales peasants last Thursday.

    "We have informed the media that a penal process against the governor of Pando (Fernandez) for the crime of genocide has begun," Morales told a press conference in La Paz, Bolivia's administrative capital.

    Morales added that the detention of Fernandez was conducted according to law, and "nobody can do against it."

    The arrest followed last week's declaration of a state of siegein Pando by the government of Morales. Troops have taken control of the provincial capital Cobija in response to the outbreak of violence in the region.

    "The detention is performed in accordance with the state of siege within the constitutional framework," Morales said.

    The president also hailed the "overwhelming support for the Bolivian democracy" shown by the Union of South American Nations (Unasur).

    Morales said when it is about defending the life and legacy of the Bolivian people, the legal actions should continue.

    On Monday, a total of 11 people were detained for violating the state of siege in Pando. They will also be interrogated for the killings in Pando province.

    Violent clashes in Bolivia between supporters of Morales and anti-government protesters have already left dozens of people dead, and many more have been injured or missing.

Editor: An
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