A car bomb exploded at Bogota's General Santander Police Academy, killing at least 21 people and injuring 68 more. The government has blamed ELN rebels for the blast.
A car bomb blast ripped through the General Santander Police Academy in Bogota, Colombia, killing at least 21 people and injuring 68 more on Thursday. The explosion destroyed windows in adjacent buildings and sparked a fire.
Colombian President Ivan Duque called the explosion a "crazy terrorist act" against unarmed police cadets. "We will not rest until we capture and bring to justice the terrorists involved," Duque said late Thursday. "I tell the criminals that social repudiation awaits them, the rejection of all Colombians and the international community."
Authorities identified the attacker, whom Chief Prosecutor Nestor Martinz said drove a gray Nissan Patrol SUV carrying 80 kilos (176 pounds) of highly-explosive pentolite to the academy at 9:30 a.m. (local time) before detonating the vehicle.
Defense Minister Guillermo Botero said on Friday the ELN rebel group was behind the attack. The 2,000-strong National Liberation Army (ELN) began peace talks with the government
of former President Juan Manuel Santos in 2017 but Duque put them on hold.
Biggest attack since 2006
The attack is the largest in Colombia since 2006. The country suffered many such attacks over decades of civil war, which calmed considerably when its previous president, Juan Manuel Santos, signed a peace agreement with the guerrilla Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 2016.
FARC, now a political party, condemned the attack as "a provocation against the political solution to the conflict." FARC representative Pastor Alape Lascarro tweeted, "It tries to close possibilities of an agreement with ELN, delegitimize social mobilization, and favor war-like sectors."
js,jm/msh (AFP, AP, Reuters)