Car bomb kills 21 people at police academy in Bogotá, Colombia
A car bomb has exploded outside a police academy in the Colombian capital, Bogotá, killing at least ten. President Iván Duque called the attack a “miserable terrorist act” against police.
The blast shattered windows and rattled the General Santander police academy early Thursday morning. At least 21 people were killed and 68 more injured, according to the National Police. 58 of them have already been released from the hospital. The death toll includes the perpetrator of the attack.
The blast was triggered by 80kg of explosive pentolite planted in the car.
Video footage and photos of the aftermath shows the academy campus strewn with debris, and buildings shaken.
#Atención | Reportan explosión en la Escuela de Cadetes de Policía General Santander, aún no hay información oficial [Notica en Desarrollo] pic.twitter.com/ARGq34MR55— Ciro A. Ramirez (@CIROARAMIREZ) January 17, 2019
#ATENCIÓN Fuerte explosión en la Escuela de Cadetes General Santander en Bogotá. Habría personas heridas y fallecidas. pic.twitter.com/mUctYlot4I— Karen L. Gamba (@Karenl_Gamba) January 17, 2019
Colombian President Iván Duque cut a trip to western Colombia short and returned to the city to oversee police operations. Duque described the attack as a “miserable terrorist act,” and vowed to “determine the perpetrators of this attack and bring them to justice.”
While no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, public prosecutor Nestor Humberto Martinez named Jose Aldemar Rojas Rodriguez as the "material author of this abominable crime." Rodriguez entered the school compound in a gray Nissan Patrol truck, Martinez said, adding that the truck had been recently inspected near the Venezuelan border in an area known as a stronghold for left-wing National Liberation Army guerrillas.
Bogotá has often been the scene of bloody conflict between leftist rebels, right-wing paramilitaries, and drug cartels. The National Liberation Army, better known by its Spanish-language acronym ELN, has targeted police officers in the capital as of late, after peace talks with Duque’s government stalled last September.
ELN refused to meet Duque’s demands that it release over a dozen hostages, including six Colombian soldiers.
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