Explosion in Barrancabermeja would have been a retaliatory strike against traders in the gas field, authorities are investigating

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Santander Governor Mauricio Aguilar Hurtado said the merchants appeared to have received threats.  Photo: Mayor of Barrancabermeja.
Santander Governor Mauricio Aguilar Hurtado said the merchants appeared to have received threats. Photo: Mayor of Barrancabermeja.

The authorities of Barrancabermeja continue to carry out investigations to determine the causes of the freeze that took place in this municipality of Santander last Saturday, October 1st. Lately the hypothesis of a possible retaliation came to light.

The explosion in Barrancarbemeja was of such magnitude that local authorities had to declare a public calamity to deal with the victims. As a matter of fact at least 83 households and 16 businesses were affected.

According to the numerous reports known so far, more than 20 people were injured, at least three of them seriously. The national media also spoke of one to three fatalities.

In view of this situation, which caused panic and still leaves many doubts among the public and other stakeholders in society, the authorities are further investigating the facts.

Recently it became known that the governor of Santander, Mauricio Aguilar Hurtado, indicated that this case could be retaliation against the traders of the gas field where the explosion and subsequent fire took place.

The department president pointed out that these people had apparently received threats of blackmail before the state of emergency was registered.

“There is talk of possible threats of blackmail against these traders and that it could be some kind of retaliation,” said the governor of Santander, quoted by radio station RCN.

This would only be a hypothesis that can be confirmed or denied when the Attorney General announces the results of the ongoing investigation.

Likewise, Governor Mauricio Aguilar reported that five other spots were found where these types of activities are secretly carried out. According to reports also issued by the Office of Disaster Risk Management, these locations do not follow any safety protocol for their operations.

“This situation raises alarms against the tampering and commercialization of gas in places unsuitable for storing this type of product‘ the department president added.

The place had no license to market gas

Given the explosion of 14 gas pipettes intended to be marketed from the sector known as Pozo Siete in Barrancabermeja, doubts are growing as to the legality of this site and the activities carried out.

After the emergency, this was confirmed by the Barrancabermeja Mayor’s Office In fact, the place did not have the permits required for this type of activity.

In an interview with the media mentioned above, the mayor of this municipality, Alfonso Eljach Manrique, assured that the POT had not determined that this area of ​​the municipality was authorized to market the material.

“In the light of the land management plan, we have not found any relevant permit that indicates that this type of operation could operate in this sector. We are conducting the relevant investigations because we know for the time being that it is a family business and some gas distributors from Antioquia,” the official said.

Public disaster in Barrancabermeja

In view of the emergency that occurred last Saturday, October 1st, the local authorities declared a public disaster in the municipality.

The purpose of this measure is to speed up the procedures that will make it possible to provide assistance to the merchants and families affected by the explosion.

Among the measures taken by the city government in the midst of this disaster are those of provide humanitarian aid and a rent subsidy for three months for those made homeless by the conflagration.

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