Photos of Irishman shot dead by police in Bolivia show him handling firearms

 

PHOTOGRAPHS IN which the Irishman shot dead by police in Bolivia two weeks ago is seen handling various firearms were shown at a press conference on Wednesday in La Paz by the prosecutor investigating the circumstances surrounding his death.

A local journalist who saw the photographs told The Irish Timesthat one showed 24-year-old Michael Dwyer with what appeared to be two 9mm pistols, one in each hand.

Bolivia’s authorities say Mr Dwyer was part of a terrorist group linked with right-wing separatists in the east of Bolivia and planned to assassinate the country’s left-wing president, Evo Morales. On Saturday the prosecutor showed a video which he said showed Mr Dwyer and two other members of the group discussing how to blow up a boat carrying Mr Morales.

The Tipperary man was killed in a police raid on his hotel in the early hours of April 16th in the city of Santa Cruz. He died alongside two other men following what police claim was a shoot-out. Two other members of the group were arrested at the scene.

“The photos were found in the vehicle that belonged to the group and were taken in Bolivia, though we are still trying to confirm the exact date and location,” said Marcelo Sosa, the prosecutor in charge of the case.

The photos reportedly show Mr Dwyer, Eduardo Rozsa Flores, the suspected leader of the group who also died in the police raid, and Elod Toaso, arrested at the scene, along with two other men that are still being sought by police. It is not known how many guns in total the men had in their possession.

At the same press conference, one of the two men arrested in Santa Cruz on Tuesday admitted supplying a weapon to Flores.

Juan Carlos Gueder Bruno said Flores approached him about buying guns and he sold him a weapon for $1,000 (€756). Mr Gueder said Flores told him that he planned to assassinate the prefects (a post equivalent to governor) of Santa Cruz and the neighbouring department of Beni.

Both Santa Cruz and Beni are controlled by the opposition to the Morales government and have been at the forefront of demands for more autonomy for eastern Bolivia.

Mr Gueder said Flores intended to assassinate the two political leaders because he considered them ineffective in the region’s fight to wrest more freedom from the central government in La Paz.

At a press conference on Tuesday night, Mr Sosa identified two lawyers from Santa Cruz who he said were go-betweens between Flores’s group and locals who financed it. He summoned Hugo Antonio Acha Melgar and Alejandro Melgar Pereira to appear in La Paz for questioning.

Mr Sosa said they had been identified by a key secret prosecution witness, believed to be a government agent who infiltrated Flores’s group.

Also summoned to appear before prosecutors is a local businessman who investigators say organised the sale to Flores of the vehicle in which the photographs shown yesterday were found.