LA PAZ – At least two people were killed and 10 others injured in an explosion in Oruro on Tuesday, for which three suspects were subsequently arrested, the Bolivian Interior Minister said.
There might be two more deaths but the information is still being “verified,” Bolivian Interior Minister Carlos Romero told the media in La Paz.
The minister indicated that one of the victims is a woman and the other a minor, pointing out that the wounded have been hospitalized.
Romero added that the three people arrested were allegedly at the site at the time of the explosion, which occurred shortly after 6:30 pm local time (2230 GMT).
The arrests were made by the Bolivian Police’s special force in an attempt to gather information that “guides the investigation,” Romero said.
The interior minister said that two of the detainees were traveling in a vehicle which was intercepted and showed signs of damage presumably as a result of the blast.
“We cannot rule out any hypothesis,” he said about the cause of explosion, which took place just one street away from Saturday’s similar tragedy in which eight people lost their lives and 40 were injured.
The authorities attributed Saturday’s explosion to a gas cylinder leak at a streetside eatery.
However, Romero said that the latest blast shows differences from the one on Saturday as it left a crater of “significant size” on the street.
The minister promised to clarify soon what happened and determine “if there is a connection” between the two events.
Police officers have been deployed across the city and at its access points for the control of people and vehicles, he said.
Romero also noted that special police forces were sent from La Paz to Oruro to enhance the investigation process.
The governor of Oruro, Bolivia, described the explosion as a “criminal act,” in statements to the Bolivian state television.
“We ask the police, including the army, for immediate mobilization, in this way to confront this criminal act that some are sowing anxiety in Oruro,” he told Bolivia TV.
The president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, expressed his consternation on Twitter “because the tragedy and death of innocents again mourns the country with a new explosion in Oruro.”
“I have instructed a quick and exhaustive investigation to find the causes,” he wrote on Twitter, in a message in which he expressed solidarity “to the wounded and families of the victims.”