At least 73 people were killed after a pipeline ruptured by suspected fuel thieves exploded in central Mexico, authorities said on Saturday, as President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador defended the army despite its failure to clear the site before the blast. A number of people at the scene told Reuters that local shortages in gasoline supply since Lopez Obrador launched a drive to stamp out fuel theft had encouraged the rush to the gushing pipeline. To root out the theft, Lopez Obrador in late December ordered pipelines to be closed. But Lopez Obrador, who vowed to continue the crackdown on theft, defended the army in the face of questions about why soldiers failed to prevent the tragedy. Lopez Obrador has said his decision to close pipelines has greatly reduced fuel theft, but the death toll has raised questions about potentially unintended consequences.
Source: Indian Express January 20, 2019 01:41 UTC