SANTIAGO – The explosion in the Huechuraba police station has injured eight police officers. Earlier, authorities spoke of five injured. Another explosive package was sent to a former Minister of Internal Affairs.
An artificial explosive device detonated inside a police station in the Santiago commune of Huechuraba around 12.45 on Thursday, injuring at least eight policemen.
A woman delivered the package to the police station, where it was taken inside. It exploded in one of the offices. Five policemen had to be taken to the hospital with severe injuries, where they were visited by President Sebastián Piñera.
The woman who delivered the package was arrested shortly after, but as she just worked for the Chilean postal services, she was not marked as suspect.
A Second Package
Investigative police found that a second, identical package was sent to a building in Las Condes, where industrial investment company Quiñenco has their office. The package was addressed to former Minister of Internal Affairs Rodrigo Hinzpeter.
Police forces managed to prevent the package from getting delivered and experts could disable the explosive device.
President Sebastián Piñera called the attack “cowardly” and called upon all authorities to work together to find the ones responsible.
The president also called upon the opposition-held Congress to approve the amendments to the Anti-Terrorist Law, so authorities have more legal options to prosecute suspects.
It remains unknown who is behind the packages sent to the police station and ex-minister Hinzpeter.
However, in the last years, various incidents have occurred where explosive devices were sent to chairmen of large Chilean companies. Public spaces have been targeted too.
- In May 2019, Louis de Grange, a chairman of the Metro de Santiago-board, received a package with an explosive device at his house in Las Condes. A special unit from the Chilean Carabineros managed to deactivate the package before it could do any harm.
- In January 2019, at a Transantiago bus stop, a device exploded, leaving five people injured. One 40-year-old woman was gravely injured – during an operation a piece of metal of around 25cm was pulled out of her leg.
- In 2017, the then president of Codelco Oscar Landerretche, received an explosive device delivered at his house. The package exploded when he tried to open it. He and his domestic workers suffered minor injuries after the explosion.
All these attacks were claimed by a group of so-called eco-terrorists, known as Individualistas Tendientes a lo Salvaje (ITS), or ‘Individuals Tending to the Wild’. Although they have not claimed responsibility for the attacks on Thursday, the explosive device sent to the former minister Hinzpeter aligns with earlier targets.
After earlier attacks they posted on their blog statements about their motives.
“In the name of progress and its rotten civilizations the modern human will continue to terribly damage the earth, that will not change. But remember that here we are, attentive to what happens, noting names, verifying directions, here we are to return minimally the damage caused to our environment and for that we use homemade explosives and other weapons.”
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.