The Borneo Post (Sabah)

Ferry explosion in Mexico resort town caused by homemade explosive


MEXICO CITY: A blast that injured more than two dozen in February in the Mexican resort town Playa del Carmen was caused by a home-made explosive, a leading Mexican newspaper reported on Saturday, citing an official investigat­ion.

The explosion appeared to have been triggered from a distance and may have been made by someone with knowledge of mining materials, according to Mexican newspaper El Universal, citing an investigat­ion conducted by the Mexican attorney general’s office and the marine secretary.

A spokesman for the attorney general’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

The explosion on a ferry docked at a Playa del Carmen pier injured at least 25, including US tourists.

Shortly before spring break, when thousands of US college students descend on Mexican beach towns, the US government on Wednesday barred its employees from traveling to Playa del Carmen, citing an unspecifie­d ‘security threat’ and mentioning the blast.

On Friday, the US government updated the ban, limiting it to certain neighbourh­oods in Playa del Carmen. The US State Department advises tourists to exercise ‘increased caution’ in the state of Quintana Roo.

Local media reported that the ferry was operated by Barcos Caribe, which is owned by the family of former Quintana Roo governor Roberto Borge, who was extradited from Panama to Mexico in January to face corruption charges.

Barcos Caribe did not immediatel­y respond to a request for comment.

No motive for the explosion has been suggested yet, and both federal and state officials are still investigat­ing.

Playa del Carmen is lo cated about 76 km south of Cancun, the centerpiec­e of a strip of white sand beaches that is one of Latin America’s top tourist destinatio­ns.

In recent years, Mexican tourist destinatio­ns have been tainted by the country’s long-running battle against drug cartels.

Murder rates have soared in both Pacific resort Acapulco and Los Cabos, a popular stretch of beaches and desert on the southern tip of Baja California. — Reuters

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