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The Paceno newspaper La Razon reported today that there is evidence the campesinos in the Altiplano are arming themselves.
The report goes on to say that the government, represented by the Defense Minister, Gonzalo Arredondo, presumes the arms are destined for groups in the Altiplano region which are organizing some type of action. Furthermore, the government argues such groups have subversive ideas and objectives.
The government's arguments are based on a series of police and intelligence services' actions which led to the discovery and seizure of arms and ammunitions in and around the urban area of La Paz. As examples, several operations were cited. On April 25, 2004, police seized arms and ammunition from the house of an former military man. On April 2, 2004, the PTJ (Policia Tecnica Judicial/Technical Judicial Police) seized 8,800 dynamite sticks from a private house north of La Paz. On May 2004, Argentinean police seized five missile heads from three subjects (an Argentinean, a Paraguayan and a Bolivian) who were allegedly smuggling the missiles from Bolivia. Further evidence is cited in the form of theft of rifles, ammunition and explosives from military bases.
The government calls these cases alarming and vows to keep investigating.