The National Police of Peru, PNP, has been warned of a possible "terrorist attack" against Pope Francis during his visit to the Latin American country, which is next on the papal itinerary after Chile.
Kathy Wenstuisen, a sister at Peru's Apostolic Nunciature Church, was informed about the possible attack through a telephone call from a woman named "Amparo," according to local newspaper Ojo Peru.
The informer who called Wenstuisen said she was intercepted when she was heading to a farm in the central coastal city of Huacho by two men who confirmed the certainty of the attacks.
A document provided to the PNP provided specific details of the attacks. This included the fact that there will allegedly be three people involved — one person will attack the Pontiff, a second person will attack the crowd and the last person will operate a black vehicle.
Another police official revealed that authorities have received several threats indicating possible attacks against Pope Francis in the last few days.
"Through a virtual patrol, we have detected four or five alerts that speak about an alleged attack during the papal mass," the official informed.
"There are people who speak against the Pope, who don't accept it. Therefore, we see that as a way of prevention."
At least 40 snipers will be deployed to safeguard the Pope.
Peru's Interior Ministry said in a statement that the PNP has ensured Pope Francis' safety during the period of his visit in the Latin American country. Pope Francis is expected to visit Lima, Puerto Maldonado and Trujillo from Jan. 18-21.
"They have been specially trained for this event. They are prepared to prevent any unforeseen event," the official said in a statement.
The Ministry of Interior said on their website that the PNP has deployed "special security" in all the cities Pope Francis is bound to visit for his safety.
The statement also specified that specialized units of the PNP and intelligence agencies are ready to counteract any type of threat that could arise in the activities programmed by the religious leader.
Amid escalating tensions and protests in Chile, Pope Francis has now moved to the disputed Indigenous territory of Temuco, capital of the Araucania region in southern Chile.
The Mapuche, Chile's largest Indigenous group, have been trying to reclaim their territory in Araucania, located south of the Bio Bio river, which was taken over by the Chilean military in the late 19th century. The lands were later colonized by European settlers who owned timber factories and ranches in the region, leaving the Mapuche poverty-stricken and the region environmentally depleted.
Both the Mapuche leaders and the Chilean government are hoping the Pontiff's visit will ignite negotiations between the two groups.
Last week alone, nearly nine churches were torched with gas-soaked cloths marking protests against the papal visit.
Earlier this month, Chile also strengthened its border patrol to prepare for the Pontiff's visit to the Latin American country. Thousands of police officers have been deployed in the Chilean capital of Santiago.