A car explosion that occurred this morning in Bogotá’s Escuela General Santander, the Colombian National Police force’s main educational centre, has been labelled a “terrorist act” by President Iván Duque, Mayor Enrique Peñalosa and the Fiscalía General de la Nación.
Although this is a developing story and many facts remain unclear, it is known that at approximately 9:30am this morning a man was reported to have driven a car up to the gates of the Escuela General Santander. Local media are reporting that, when approached by security forces, the driver accelerated and crashed the vehicle into a wall, causing an explosion. Authorities are currently investigating whether the source of the explosion was by detonation or by the collision.
Nine deaths have been confirmed as a result of the explosion including the driver of the car and members of the police force.
Authorities report that the number of injured continues to rise. At the time of writing, the number of injured is 54, all of whom are being attended to in local hospitals in Bogotá.
The authorities have also made an urgent appeal for locals to donate blood and a full list of blood donation points making the request can be seen in the tweet below:
At this point, no information has been confirmed as to who is behind the alleged attack. Bogotá Mayor Peñalosa assures that more information will be provided as news comes in. In a tweet, Mayor Peñalosa said that “[i]f there is something that we say today with more force than before, it is that the good ones are greater in number. We trust in the Colombian State and that the culprits will soon fall. They, the terrorists, can never get away with it.”
President Duque is currently on an immediate return trip to Bogotá from Quibdó, Chocó, in order to be present at the crime scene. Here’s what he tweeted:
The attack marks the deadliest attack on Colombia’s police force since April last year where 8 officers were killed in Urabá. In that incident, the notorious cartel Clan de Golfo were found to be behind the attack. The police were also attacked in Barranquilla this time last year by guerrilla group ELN in a bomb blast that killed 5 and injured 42.
With reporting by Sophie Foggin and Arjun Harindranath