At least 21 people have died in the terrorist attack on Colombia’s national police academy in Bogota on Thursday, authorities said. Ten people continue to be hospitalized.
According to the National Police, 58 of the people who were injured in the car bomb attack have been released from hospital.
Regretfully, the preliminary balance is 21 people dead, including the person responsible for the event, and 68 were injured, who were transferred to different medical centers with the support of relief and emergency agencies of the District.
Among the deceased is an Ecuadorean citizen who was in the General Santander national police academy when a man drove a car carrying 80 kilograms of explosives into the highly secured school campus.
Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela confirmed that 45 Panamanian cadets were present during the attack with two suffering injuries.
Colombia has been plunged into a state of mourning after what is Bogota’s bloodiest attack in 15 years that was carried out by the ELN, according to Defense Minister Guillermo Botero.
Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez named Jose Aldemar Rojas from the town of Puerto Boyaca as the alleged driver of the car but no armed group has taken any responsibility for involvement.
International observers condemned the attack with United States assistant secretary of state in charge of Latin America, Kimberly Breier taking to Twitter to offer their sympathies.
“Our condolences and sympathies go to the victims and family members of those killed,” said the official.
The US embassy in Bogota meanwhile offered its “help in investigating this reprehensible attack and solidarity to the Colombian Police.”
The United Nations, which is still overseeing the implementation of the peace deal with the now-disarmed FARC guerrillas also condemned the attack as “an unacceptable criminal act which goes against the efforts the country is making to steer away from violence and work with its people to build a more prosperous and peaceful future.”
At home, Colombian President Ivan Duque rejected the attack and called for unity while authortities work to establish the author and the motive so that those responsible can be brought to justice.
“We will not rest until we capture and bring to justice the rest of the terrorists involved and I notify those criminals that social repudiation awaits them, the rejection of all Colombians and the international community, and the exemplary punishment of justice,” said the head of State.
As Colombia attempts to move forward with the implementation of a 2016 peace agreement with the Marxist-inspired FARC, the now-political party said “we fiercely reject” the attack and offered “all our solidarity with the victims.”
One of the party’s leaders Pastor Alape claimed that the bomb was a ploy to end the possibility of the government continuing wiht peace talks with the last remaining left-wing guerrilla group, the ELN.
Alape described the attack as a “provocation against the political way out of the conflict” on Twitter.
While talks have been stalled between the government and the ELN since the election of Ivan Duque as president, the rebels have continued to display their force as they continue with bomb attacks.
A year ago, six police died and 40 were injured in an attack on a police station in the Caribbean city of Barranquilla that was claimed by the ELN.
In February 2017, the ELN claimed responsibility for an attack on a police patrol in the Macarena neighborhood of Bogota that left one officer dead and several seriously wounded.
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