Lima – At least 18 people were killed in Peru in two separate explosions involving vehicles packed with fireworks, authorities said.
The first incident occurred Thursday in the Puno region in the southern part of the country and left four dead and 12 injured.
In that incident, an SUV loaded with fireworks exploded in front of a police station in the city of Juliaca near the Bolivian border, and initially caused an alert to be declared nationwide in the belief that it was a terrorist attack.
According to the official report, the explosion killed two policemen and two civilians, while another 12 cops were injured.
A second explosion of a vehicle carrying fireworks, also on Thursday, left at least 14 dead and 10 injured in a mountainous area east of Lima, police officials said.
The fireworks were being transported in a passenger bus that turned over and exploded at kilometer 53 (mile 33) on the Central Highway in Huarochiri province.
The commander of the highway police, Gaston Ramirez, said on RPP radio that one of the survivors reported that after the explosion the bus caught fire and was entirely consumed by the flames.