Q COSTA RICA – Costa Rica is characterized as being a country of peace and without an army, however, there are those who like to draw attention and take to making “bomb” threats, like that on Sunday in Tibas, at the Saprissa stadium that resulted in the suspension of the game between Saprissa and Grecia at the 81 minute mark.
Following the threat, the game was suspended and the 12,000 people in attendance were evacuated in less than 20 minutes. Almost two hours later, after an extensive search, that included bomb sniffer dogs, authorities ruled the threat as false. No injuries were reported.
Authorities are not taking lightly the possibility of a similar situation, real or fake, at the Estado Nacional (National Stadium) in La Sabana, for Tuesday’s FIFA World Cup qualifier between the Costa Rica and Mexico.
Since Sunday afternoon, the Fuerza Publica (national police) have been safeguarding the stadium, with a constant police presence, special patrols and monitoring the myriad of security cameras inside the stadium and out.
Some 35,000 fans are expected to be on hand for Tuesday’s game, a game that if Costa Rica wins will qualify for play in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
But it’s not just soccer games and stadiums that are targets of threats of bomb threats. In the past couple of months alone, the Banco de Costa Rica (BCR) and Parque Viva entertainment park in Alajuela have received threats.
On July 5, the BCR central offices in San Jose had to be evacuated after authorities received a threat.
On July 9, organizers of the Ariana Grande concert at the Parque Viva received a bomb threat that was later said to have been a “joke” on the part of the caller and wound up costing taxpayers more than ¢8 million colones.
In that case, the message was received the day before the concert, in Arabic, stating that a bomb would be detonated during the Ariana Grande show. Investigators and analysts of Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ), the Fuerza Publica, the Bomberos (Fire Department), Cruz Roja (Red Cross), Transito (Traffic Police) and the DIS, the national intelligence service, worked around the clock to ensure the park was clear of any explosive devices and the suspected bomber apprehended.
On the morning of the concert, a 22-year-old man was arrested at his home in Moravia.
In November last year, the Juan Santamaria (San Jose) international airport was evacuated after an 80-year-old Spanish national boarded an Air Panama flight and claimed he was carrying an explosive.
In January 2016, the public hospitals San Juan de Dios and Calderon Guardia received bomb threats. The San Jose criminal court house, as the Heredia courts have received bomb threats on numerous occasions.
In all cases, the buildings were evacuated and after a thorough search, the threats were found to be false.