Colombia

Blast at upscale mall in Colombia’s capital leaves three dead, almost a dozen injured

A woman is evacuated on a gurney after an explosion at the Centro Andino shopping center in Bogota, Colombia, Saturday, June 17, 2017.
A woman is evacuated on a gurney after an explosion at the Centro Andino shopping center in Bogota, Colombia, Saturday, June 17, 2017. AP

A powerful explosion in an upscale mall in Colombia’s capital Saturday evening left at least three people dead and almost a dozen injured, local authorities said.

Bogotá’s Mayor Enrique Peñalosa confirmed that three women had died in what he called an act of “terrorism.” Among the dead was a 23-year-old French woman, who was working here as a volunteer teacher, he said.

President Juan Manuel Santos expressed his solidarity with the victims and ordered the national police chief to lead the investigation.

Officials said the presumed bomb had been placed in the women’s bathroom on the second floor of the Andino shopping center, a mall that is popular with locals and foreigners.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, which took place at about 5 p.m. local time, but suspicion will likely focus on the National Liberation Army, or ELN, a left wing guerrilla group that has been stepping up attacks even as it’s engaged in peace talks.

On its Twitter page, the ELN condemned the attack and called on the government to “identify those responsible.”

This is the second major bombing in Bogotá this year. The ELN took responsibility for a February explosion that killed one policeman.

Follow Jim Wyss on Twitter @jimwyss

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