CARACAS – At least seven people died and five were injured when a bus overturned in Venezuela after the driver was wounded by two people who apparently boarded the vehicle intending to rob the passengers.
“What we have up to now is seven fatalities, five injured and one of those five is one of the presumed robbers,” the director of Civil Protection for the state of Yaracuy, Andres Otaiza, told Efe.
The incident occurred at 1:30 (1800 GMT) after the alleged criminals boarded the bus in the western city of Barquisimeto and beginning to go from passenger to passenger robbing them during the trip to nearby Yaracuy.
The plan went awry, however, when the robbers wounded the driver, who lost control of the vehicle and it overturned.
The official said that the two alleged robbers were taken into custody by law enforcement officials at the accident site.
“It’s one of the modus operandi being used by those people. They get on in Barquisimeto and ... rob (the passengers),” said Otaiza, who added that “all the necessary mechanisms are being activated” to safeguard the route and prevent such acts in public transport vehicles.
The problem of crime in the South American country has spurred the government to develop plans to address the lack of security and hold meetings with all the regional governments, the most recent of which occurred last Monday when governors and mayors asked for support from Caracas to protect the public from criminals.
According to government figures, last year there were 11,000 violent deaths in Venezuela, although several non-governmental organizations claim that about 25,000 homicides were committed, a number that is not acknowledged by the administration.