1 killed, 11 hurt by explosion at Colombia mall

But the capital remains vulnerable to attacks as residents let down their guard Bogota has seen dramatic improvement in security over the past decade as the country’s long-running conflict has wound down.

(AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan) A woman is evacuated on a gurney after an explosion at the Centro Andino shopping center in Bogota, Colombia, Saturday, June 17, 2017. Authorities reported one woman was killed and 11 people injured. Authorities’ attention immediately focused on the country’s largest still active rebel group, the National Liberation Army, or ELN, which in February claimed responsibility for a bombing near Bogota’s bullring that killed one police officer and injured 20 other people.

Ambulances and firetrucks rushed to the scene and the injured were taken to a hospital. Witnesses told of being evacuated from movie theatres and stores after a blast in a second-floor bathroom.

BOGOTA — A strong explosion rocked one of the busiest shopping centres in Colombia’s capital Saturday, killing a 23-year-old French woman and injuring 11 people, authorities said.

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Of the 11 injured, three suffered serious injuries, he said. He said the victim had been in Colombia the past six months volunteering in a poor neighbourhood and was preparing to return to France in the coming days.

Bogota Mayor Enrique Penalosa condemned what he called a “cowardly terrorist bombing” at the upscale Centro Andino in the heart of Bogota’s tourist district.

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The government last year reached a peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which was much bigger than the ELN. Some analysts attribute an uptick in violence in Colombian cities to the group’s desire to wrest concessions from the government at the negotiating table. The ELN is also engaged in peace talks but has so far refused for its fighters to lay down their weapons.

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Authorities’ attention immediately focused on the country’s largest still active rebel group, the National Liberation Army, or ELN, which in February claimed responsibility for a bombing near Bogota’s bullring that killed one police officer and injured 20 other people.

Still, the Andino shopping centre would seem a difficult target. All vehicles entering the parking garage are screened by bomb-sniffing dogs and security guards are present throughout the mall.

In a message posted on Twitter he expressed his solidarity with the victims. President Juan Manuel Santos ordered the head of Colombia’s police to lead the investigation and keep him regularly updated.

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