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Honduras arrests suspect in murder of environmental activist

An activist holds a photos of slain environmental rights activist Berta Caceres during a march to mark International Women's Day in Managua, Nicaragua March 8, 2016. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Honduras has arrested a suspect in the murder of an environmental rights activist and colleague of recently slain award-winning indigenous leader Berta Caceres, officials said on Sunday.

Didier Enrique “Electric” Ramirez was apprehended for his alleged role in the killing of Nelson Garcia, 39, who was shot dead earlier this month by at least two assailants following a dispute with local landowners, authorities said in a statement.

Garcia was killed near his house in the San Francisco de Yoyoa region, 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of the capital Tegucigalpa.

Caceres, a 43-year-old teacher, was shot and killed earlier this month by two men at her home in La Esperanza, Honduras, 112 miles (180 kilometers) west of Tegucigalpa.

Garcia was a member of the Consejo de Organizaciones Populares e Indigenas de Honduras (COPINH), the same organization that Caceres led until her death.

Caceres, who had received death threats, won the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015 for her efforts to prevent the construction of a $50 million dam that threatened to displace hundreds of indigenous people.

The impoverished Central American nation has one of the world’s highest murder rates.

Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Editing by Alan Crosby