Mexico beefs up security after pipeline bombings

Mexico has increased security measures at strategic installations in the country following a series of bombings on fuel pipelines operated by state-run Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

Jul 17th, 2007

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, July 17 -- Mexico has increased security measures at strategic installations in the country following a series of bombings on fuel pipelines operated by state-run Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

The Interior Ministry condemned the rebel group Ejército Popular Revolucionario (EPR), which claimed responsibility for blasts on the pipelines in central Mexico July 5 and 10 and said the attacks were "the start of a national campaign of harassment against the oligarchy and this illegitimate government."

The group said it would continue the "harassment" until Mexican President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa and Oaxaca governor Ulises Ruiz show that three EPR members, arrested in Oaxaca, are alive. According to reports, no one has seen EPR members Edmundo Reyes Amaya, Raymundo Rivera Bravo or Gabriel Alberto Cruz Sanchez since their arrest May 25.

The July 10 explosion forced suspension of service on the 36-in. pipeline that runs between Mexico City and Guadalajara, but caused no injuries or damage outside of the pipeline's installations, Pemex said.

The July 5 explosions at a Pemex pipeline in nearby Guanajuato state forced evacuations but caused no injuries.

The Procuraduria General de la Republica said its forensic tests showed that the three bombs that exploded in Guanajuato last week were all of the same type and had exploded simultaneously.

As a result of the attacks—the first time EPR has hit Mexico's economic infrastructure—automakers Nissan and Honda halted production at plants in Aguascalientes and Guadalajara due to the lack of gas, and Mexican glass maker Vitro temporarily shut down two glass container plants at Queretaro and Guadalajara.

Pemex said July 10 that it expected to restore service on the Mexico City-Guadalajara pipeline in 3-4 days.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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