The LDS Church announced Tuesday that some 102 North American missionaries serving in Bolivia have been transferred to Peru in the wake of political unrest within the Bolivian government.

A news release said the transfer was made "in consultation with U.S. government representatives in Bolivia and with the cooperation of Bolivian immigration authorities as a precautionary measure during the present unsettled conditions there."

The missionaries are expected to return to Bolivia "when conditions become more settled," the release said.

Most of the missionaries were transferred via commercial and charter flights beginning last weekend. The transfer was completed Monday night.

Church spokesman Scott Trotter said the missionaries will continue their service in three missions in Peru, which is part of the church's South America West area, headquartered in Lima.

The Associated Press quoted Bolivia's president saying soldiers have arrested an opposition governor inside the country on charges of organizing a massacre.

Gov. Leopoldo Fernandez of Pando province is being charged with genocide in what Bolivian President Evo Morales calls an ambush of his supporters last week that left at least 15 dead and 37 injured. Morales announced the arrest at a news conference Tuesday.

Anti-Morales activists seized buildings last week in Pando and three other states to protest a planned vote on a new constitution granting greater power to Bolivia's poor indigenous majority.

The continuing unrest, and last week's expulsion of U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg, prompted the United States to suspend the Peace Corps program in Bolivia. That agency also evacuated its estimated 130 volunteers to neighboring Peru. The U.S. Embassy has advised other Americans to leave Bolivia if they can, the AP reported.

American Airlines temporarily suspended flights between Miami and Bolivia because of the unrest.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has good relationships with the Bolivian government and has a significant humanitarian aid program in the country, according to the church press release. Recently, 1,000 wheelchairs were delivered to Bolivia as a part of that humanitarian effort.


Contributing: Carrie A. Moore, Deseret News