LA PAZ, Bolivia – The General Secretariat of the Bolivian Bishops’ Conference called on civil authorities to conduct a “thorough investigation” of recent explosions in the city of Oruro that have left 12 dead and at least 60 injured.
“We lift up our prayers for the victims and express our solidarity with relatives of those who have died in the two explosions in Oruro during the carnival festivities. We call on the authorities to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation and to take measures to prevent these lamentable incidents,” the bishops said in their Feb. 14 statement.
The first explosion occurred Saturday Feb. 10 during a procession honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary. Eight people died and 40 were injured.
According to police reports, the cause was an exploding gasoline container. Bolivian official Carlos Romero informed local media that there was no evidence that dynamite or some other explosive was the cause.
Another explosion took place Feb. 13, one block from the previous one.
This time the police ruled out a gasoline leak and reported that the explosion was caused by six pounds of dynamite and ANFO (ammonium nitrate-fuel oil), a highly volatile explosive.
The explosion left four dead.
The Archbishop of Sucre Jesús Juárez said it is the task of the civil authorities to discover the reasons and the truth behind the incidents. “May truth ever triumph over the darkness of lies,” the prelate said, according to the Bolivian bishops’ communications office.
Zavaleta said that “the possibility that the two events may be coordinated” has not been ruled out, and although the police maintain that the first explosion was accidental, the secretary noted that there still remain “loose ends” in the investigation.
He pointed out that dissemination on social media of “edited audios, not spontaneous, with special effects in the background,” along with testimonies of supposed witnesses, creates suspicion of an organized “operation.”
The Secretary of Defense also called for calm, noting that a contingent of Bolivian police are deployed in the affected city.
Meanwhile, experts from the Institute for Forensic Investigations from Cochabamba and La Paz and from the Institute for Technical Scientific Investigations of the Police Academy, along with prosecutors, are working on gathering evidence to determine the facts.
(This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.)