Dwyer accused of firing at Bolivian troops

BOLIVIAN president Evo Morales has again claimed that Tipperary native Michael Dwyer and two other men killed by his security forces threw bombs and fired on the armed officers before they died.

Mr Morales said in New York that Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin was welcome to visit Bolivia and “verify how they resisted, how they threw bombs, how they were armed.

“Sleeping people never cause explosions. Sleeping people never defend themselves by shooting,” he said.

There is increasing speculation outside the south American country that Mr Dwyer, Eduardo Rozsa-Flores and Arpad Magyarosi were asleep when security forces launched the raid on the Hotel Las Americas in Santa Cruz last week. Two of the men were in their underwear and the other was naked when they were shot.

Mr Dwyer was shot six times. Two other men, Mario Tadic and Elod Toaso, are being held. Hungarian Toaso sought consular protection.

Bolivian security forces claimed the men had been planning to assassinate the president and several of his officials. The men died after a 30-minute shootout.

However, the authorities in the men’s home countries have been given no evidence that there were any weapons found near the bodies of the three men.

The manager of the hotel said he didn’t see any weapon in Michael Dwyer’s room after it was stormed.

Yesterday, it emerged that President Morales had given a photograph to Al Jazeera television showing Eduardo Rózsa-Flores, the apparent leader of the gang, lying in bed with machine guns on either side of him.

However, even the TV station said it was unclear if the man in the picture was Flores, when it was taken or if he was dead or alive.

Mr Flores, a Bolivian native who fought in Croatia and was an outspoken advocate for the independence of the Santa Cruz area of Bolivia, had made Hungary his adopted home. Magyarosi also hailed from there.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Balazs told media in his country, the alleged assassination plot on the Bolivian president was probably a “concocted story.” However, he admitted there were signs that the gang “had been preparing something, even an armed attack, but it cannot be proved that they had planned to kill the president or civilians”.

He argued that if the authorities had monitored the group, or found them suspicious, they should have tried to verify their suspicions, or detain the suspects “rather than shoot them to pieces.

“Hungary has only asked, but is now demanding, that the Bolivian authorities give official information about the commando operation last Thursday.”


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