Deadly attack against former minister in the heart of Bogotá kills 2, injures dozens
A bomb targeting a hard-line former Colombian interior minister killed two of his bodyguards and injured at least 31 others in the heart of Bogotá’s uptown commercial district Tuesday, authorities said.
The former minister, Fernando Londoño, was hurt but out of danger, President Juan Manuel Santos said. Video footage showed a stunned Londoño being led from the wreckage with bloodstains on part of his chest.
Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro said a pedestrian attached an explosive to a door of Londoño's armoured SUV and set it off remotely. He said authorities had video of the attack.
The attacker walked away in disguise and a wig of long black hair and a hat were found in the area, Petro told reporters.
It was the first fatal bombing in the capital in nearly a decade of an apparently political nature, and while officials didn't ascribe blame, some analysts suspected the country's main rebel band, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
We don't know what's behind it, said Santos. But rest assured that the government isn't going to be knocked off track by terrorist acts.
Londoño, 68, was interior and justice minister in 2002-2003 under former President Alvaro Uribe.
An archconservative, he currently hosts a daily radio show called The Hour of Truth. He is firmly opposed to opening a peace process with the FARC, referring to the rebels as terrorists and murderers.
He has also been critical of Santos for allegedly being soft on the rebels, who have stepped up attacks in recent months.
The last major bombing in the Colombian capital was in 2003, when the FARC bombed the exclusive El Nogal social club, killing 36 people.
Santos said Londoño's driver and a police bodyguard were killed in the bombing when the SUV was attacked just before midday on Calle 74 a half block from Caracas Avenue. The district is packed with office buildings, stores, restaurants and banks.
Another 24 people were treated for injuries from the bombing at the clinic, doctors said. Another six were treated at a different hospital, El Marly, said police Gen. Rodolfo Palomino.
Earlier Tuesday, police said they had deactivated a car bomb in the centre of the city and said they presumed it was from the FARC, Colombia's main leftist rebel group, known as the FARC.