An assassination attempt or an accidental gas explosion?
Conflicting reports are emerging of what caused blasts during Venezuelan President – Nicolas Maduro’s speech at a military event at the weekend.
The moment the explosions rang out, President Maduro’s bodyguards surrounded him but images have emerged at the same moment, showing soldiers in formation, breaking rank and fleeing chaotically.
The government say that drones loaded with explosives were the source of the blast but earlier reports from firefighters claim it was caused by a gas leak in a nearby building and was unrelated to the drones spotted at the scene.
Seven people were reportedly injured in the incident and six people have been arrested. President Maduro was quick to blame his enemies, including Juan Manuel Santos-the incumbent Colombian President, the United States and his country’s opposition.
Colombian authorities hitback calling the claims ‘baseless’ and US national security advisor John Bolton insisted there was ‘no US government involvement’ before suggesting that the incident could have been ‘a pretext set up by the regime itself’.
There are now fears that, whatever was behind the event, the Venezuelan government will use it to justify further crack downs on the opposition and to silence any dissenting voices.