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  • People look at displayed pictures of missing miners in Tumeremo in Bolivar state, Venezuela, March 7, 2016.

    People look at displayed pictures of missing miners in Tumeremo in Bolivar state, Venezuela, March 7, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 20 March 2016

Seventeen bodies were unearthed from a shallow grave in Venezuela's Amazon jungle. 

Venezuela's Interior Minister Gustavo Gonzalez Lopez said that the massacre of around 21 miners in the southeastern town of Tumeremo, in the state of Bolivar, was sparked by disputes among paramilitary units attempting to exercise political and economic control over the mining region.

"The collection of criminal evidence allows us to associate the people responsible for the murders with paramilitary-style attacks, aimed at taking economic and political control of the mining region," Gonzalez said on Friday when reporting the results of security forces' investigations into the mass murder.

RELATED: Venezuela: 17 Bodies Unearthed in Missing Miner Probe 

Interior Minister Gonzalez also announced the capture of Francisco David Carache Zambrano, alias "Goliat," who has links to a parliamentary unit thought to be responsible for the killings. The group is headed by Ecuadorean Jamilton Andres Ulloa Suarez, known as The Mole, who is also being hunted down by authorities.  

Two of the miners, who managed to escape, were allegedly forced to move the cadavers in a truck to the place "where the bodies were buried with the aid of a backhoe excavator," Gonzalez added.

Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega said the 17 missing miners' bodies were discovered last Monday in a common grave.

They had been missing since March 4.
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