- In the Colombian capital Bogotá, 21 people have been killed by a car bomb at a police school.
- The investigators identified the perpetrator who died in the attack as a member of the left-wing guerrilla organization ELN.
- Recently, the security situation in the South American country had improved after decades of conflict between the armed forces, left-wing guerrilla groups and right-wing paramilitaries.
A bomb attack on a police academy in Colombia killed 21 people. A further 68 people were injured when a car bomb detonated on the grounds of General Santander Police Station in the south of the metropolis, the local media reported Friday night, citing the police.
According to the Attorney General, the perpetrator drove his car through the main entrance of the academy. When a beagle struck the controls, the driver accelerated and drove at high speed onto the terrain. There the car exploded. Several buildings were damaged, the vehicle burned out.
The investigators identified the perpetrator who died in the attack as a member of the left-wing guerrilla organization ELN. The man served for 17 years under the name of "Mocho Kico" as an explosives expert in the ranks of the rebels in the east of the country, reported the TV station Caracol, citing the Attorney General. Whether the attack was ordered by the ELN is unclear. The leadership of the rebels did not speak at first.
President Duque: "This attack will not go unpunished"
For decades, Colombia suffered from an armed conflict between the armed forces, left-wing guerrilla groups and right-wing paramilitaries. Rebel groups and the Medellín cartel of drug boss Pablo Escobar, especially in the 1980s repeatedly committed heavy explosives attacks in the capital Bogotá. Recently, however, the security situation in the South American country had improved. The largest rebel organization Farc has now concluded a peace treaty with the government and laid down the arms.
However, the smaller guerrilla group ELN is still fighting against the state. Only a few days ago, ELN fighters had shot down the helicopter of a private security company in eastern Colombia, took three employees hostage and stolen 1.7 billion pesos (478,000 euros). Even crime syndicates involved in drug trafficking are constantly coming up with bloody clashes with police and armed forces.
"This attack will not go unpunished: we Colombians have never succumbed to terrorism," said President Iván Duque at the scene of the car bomb attack. "I call on all Colombians to join forces against the violent ones: we do not step back from those who attack society." Representatives of the former Farc rebels, who now act as political party for their goals, condemned the bomb attack. "Attacking Police General Santander is deeply regrettable – solidarity with the families of the victims," wrote Farc Senator Victoria Sandino on Twitter. "We have to ask ourselves who benefits from such actions and what their goals are."