One-armed explosives expert blamed for Colombia vehicle bombing

Colombia bombing at Bogota police academy death toll doubles, ELN blamed 2 years after FARC peace deal

The death toll from a vehicle bomb blast outside a police academy in Colombia on Thursday morning has climbed to 10, officials said. He will be charged later Friday with terrorism and murder.

The volatile area is a stronghold of the ELN, the country's last remaining rebel group following a 2016 accord between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) that saw some 7,000 rebels disarm.

Mr Martinez said Rojas drove a 1993 Nissan pick-up loaded with 80 kilograms of explosives past a security checkpoint and on to the school's leafy campus, where a start-of-the-year ceremony had just finished. "We won't give way a single step to those who miserably attack society", Duque said. "It seeks to put an end to the possibility of an agreement with the ELN (National Liberation Army), delegitimize social movements and benefit the hawkish sectors".

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack and Mr Martinez said investigators were searching for its "intellectual authors".

"Unfortunately, the preliminary toll is 21 people dead, including the person responsible for the incident, and 68 wounded", the police said in a statement, adding 58 of those injured had been discharged from hospital.

Columbian President Ivan Duque called the explosion a "crazy terrorist act" against unarmed cadets and said he had ordered police and the military to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

The minister confirmed that the driver of the vehicle used in the attack was a 56-year-old man - Jose Aldemar Rojas Rodriguez - who had lost his right hand sometime between 2008 and 2010 while handling explosives. The ELN, which numbers around 1,800 fighters, has rejected those demands as "unacceptable".

- Colombia's government said Friday that the National Liberation Army (ELN) leftist guerrilla group was behind a auto bombing at a police academy in this capital that left at least 21 dead - including the attacker - and 68 injured.

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According to Mr Botero, Rojas was known by his nickname "One-hand Kiko" for losing his left hand in a blast and was an intelligence chief in an ELN unit operating in the department of Arauca, on the border with Venezuela.

"This was an operation being planned for more than 10 months", Botero said.

Penalosa called it a "terrorist act" without naming who was behind the bombing.

Restrepo said he expects the attack to be a defining moment for Duque, who was elected previous year on a law and order platform highly critical of his predecessor's peacemaking but since taking office has taken a more moderate stance.

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

Dozens of residents stood in line at four collection points throughout the city to donate blood to treat the more than 70 victims.

"In two years since he joined the police, he's never had to face a situation like this", she said.

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