Venezuela: Major Gas Explosion Called Act of 'Sabotage'

Government spokespersons have blamed opposition activists from First Justice Party.

By TeleSur English
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Manuel Quevedo, President of PDVSA being interviewed (@MQuevedoF / Twitter)
Manuel Quevedo, President of PDVSA being interviewed (@MQuevedoF / Twitter)

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says an investigation will begin immediately regarding an explosion at a natural gas-filling plant located in Miranda State on Saturday evening that forced some 6,500 residents of Ocumare del Tuy to temporarily leave their homes. 

Oil Minister and PDVSA President Manuel Quevedo tweeted that President Maduro is starting an investigation into the case, and has a “contingency plan to guarantee gas.” The state official says that the government “denounces terrorism from the right wing which are behind this sabotage against the people.”

Some 6,500 people were forced to temporarily leave their homes Aug. 24 after a major explosion took place Saturday at the Jefa Apacuana natural gas filling plant located along the outskirts of Ocumare del Tuy in Miranda State.

Authorities say that residents of the Lomas de Guadalupe and Ciudad Betania I neighborhoods were transferred to shelter centers and were later able to return home. "We have deployed a security operation in these neighborhoods to protect the belongings of these families," said a local official.   

Genkerve Tovar, mayor of nearby Landar, said the fire was already controlled and confirmed that no human loss was recorded. "We ask the community to remain calm," he said.

Officials in the area also say the explosion at the plant will affect distribution of gas for all the Valleys of Tuy, because the Apacuana facility is the main filling plant for the highly flammable gas, with a daily distribution of 5,000 cylinders.  

The Miranda governor tweeted on Saturday night that only one employee at the plant had been injured and was being treated a local hospital.

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