Bolivians link Dwyer to boss behind mercenary gang

BOLIVIAN authorities believe Irishman Michael Dwyer and two others gunned down by security forces following an alleged plot to kill the president last week were working for a rich local businessman who wants to divide the country.

Serbian media yesterday reported that Bolivian officials had linked Dwyer, Eduardo Rosza Flores and Magyarosi Árpád to the businessman who is of Croat descent and who, they believe, is fighting for the autonomy of rich provinces in the South American country.

The businessman, whose father is a Croat and mother is Montenegrin, allegedly organised terrorists and brought in Montenegrin mercenaries, according to Serbian newspaper Blic.

It is now well established that all the men, including two others arrested at the time of the shooting, were working together in the South American country before last Thursday’s shootings. The four other men are all listed as friends of Eduardo Rosza Flores on his Facebook social networking page.

It is believed Flores, a former Croatian war veteran and campaigner for independence for the Santa Cruz region where he was killed, was the leader of the gang. One of those arrested was a fellow veteran of the 1992-95 Croatian war.

The men were killed in a pre-dawn shoot-out with security forces at a hotel in Santa Cruz last Thursday. Dwyer was shot six times.

The fact that all three dead men were pictured in local media lying on a hotel floor in their underwear has raised speculation that they were asleep when attacked and therefore did not fire the first shots as had been claimed by the Bolivian authorities.

Police claimed to have found “preparations for an assassination, an attempt on the lives of the president and the vice president”, and sniper rifles, high-calibre guns and other explosives which were confiscated from a nearby building.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama has rejected any suggestion that the alleged plot to kill Bolivian President Evo Morales was in any way backed by his country’s embassy. Morales had demanded Obama condemn the attack.

Bolivian media yesterday said the Bolivian president had evidence that the US had been plotting to kill him between 2001-2005 before he came to power.

“I just want to make absolutely clear that I am absolutely opposed and condemn any efforts at violent overthrows of democratically-elected governments, wherever it happens in the hemisphere,” Obama said yesterday.

“That is not the policy of our government. That is not how the American people expect their government to conduct themselves,” Obama said.

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