Vehicle bomb kills at least 8 in Colombia


Colombia's ELN rebel group was responsible for the auto bomb attack against a police academy that killed at least 21 and wounded dozens, Defence Minister Guillermo Botero said on Friday.

The scene outside the General Santander police academy is chaotic, with ambulances and helicopters rushing to the normally tightly controlled facility.

Rafael Trujillo said he was delivering a care package to his son Gerson, who entered the school just two days ago, when he was stopped in his tracks by the blast that destroyed windows in apartment buildings four blocks away.

Earlier in the day, AP reported, citing local police, that at least nine people were killed and 54 were injured on Thursday by a auto bomb that went off in a police school in the Colombian capital of Bogota, AP news agency reported citing police.

The left-wing National Liberation Army has targeted police officers in the capital as of late, after peace talks with Duque's government stalled last September.

Even though Jose Aldemar Rojas had no criminal record, Martinez said that the 56-year-old man is the same individual known in intelligence reports by alias Mocho Kiko, who lost his arm manipulating explosives during a long clandestine career with an ELN cell near the border with Venezuela.

Vehicle bombs were frequent during decades of civil war between the state and various leftist rebel groups, as well as in the violence involving the Medellin drug cartel led by dead drug lord Pablo Escobar.

The FARC political party - formed in the wake of the 2016 peace accord with what was Colombia's largest guerrilla group - condemned the attack.

"All Colombians reject terrorism and we're united in fighting it", President Ivan Duque tweeted in the aftermath.

Among those injured are a Panamanian and an Ecuadorean national.

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Family members of victims of the bombing gather outside the entrance to the General Santander police academy where the bombing took place in Bogota, Colombia.

"This demented terrorist act will not go unpunished" Colombian President Ivan Duque, who canceled a Security Council meeting he was scheduled to attend in Quibdo, Choco, in order to return to Bogota.

Nine of the deceased were cadets at the academy, police said.

"This is an attack not only against the young, the security forces or the police". She eventually found him at the police hospital where most of the injured officers were transported.

Vehicle bombs were not uncommon during the decades-long conflict between the Colombian government and left-wing rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc).

Auto bombs were frequent in Colombia during decades of civil war between the state and various leftist rebel groups, as well as in violence involving the Medellin drug cartel led by dead drug lord Pablo Escobar.

But as Colombia's conflict has wound down, terror attacks have fallen to historically-low levels and residents in turn have lowered their guard, something that magnified the shock over Thursday's attacks.

But it has been more than a decade since a police or military installation in the capital has suffered a major bombing.

The president said he has ordered more security personnel to be deployed to Colombia's borders and along the routes in and out of cities.