A bomb rocked one of the busiest shopping centers in Colombia’s capital Saturday, killing three people, including a 23-year-old French woman, and injuring nine others.
Witnesses told of being evacuated from movie theaters and stores after the blast in a second-floor women’s restroom at the upscale Centro Andino in the heart of Bogota’s tourist district. Ambulances and firetrucks rushed to the scene and the injured were taken to a hospital, where two later died.
Penalosa said the French victim, identified as Julie Huynh, had been in Colombia the past six months volunteering at a school in a poor neighborhood.
Mayor Enrique Penalosa called it a “cowardly terrorist bombing,” and attention immediately focused on the National Liberation Army, which is the last rebel movement still active in Colombia. The group, known as the ELN, carried out a spate of recent attacks in Bogota, but leaders denied involvement in the latest bombing.
The ELN, which is engaged in long-running peace talks with the government, rejected accusations it was behind the attack.
The ELN in February claimed responsibility for a bombing near Bogota’s bullring that killed one police officer and injured 20 other people. But the group said it doesn’t target civilians. Read more here.