At least 20 people were killed in an attack on a police academy in the Colombian capital Bogotá. The attacker also died in the attack, the Colombian police said. 68 people were injured.
A man detonated a car bomb Thursday at General Santander Police Officers & School in Bogotá. The head of state Iván Duque condemned the act as a "miserable act of terrorism".
Investigators identified the perpetrator as a member of the left-wing ELN guerrilla. The man served for 17 years under the name "Mocho Kico" as an expert on explosives in the ranks of rebels in the eastern part of the country, reported the television station Caracol, citing the Attorney General. It is not clear if the attack was ordered by ELN. The rebel leadership did not speak at the beginning.
The attack had been perpetrated during a promotion ceremony at the Police Academy. On the TV images of the police school the burnt wreck of a vehicle and several ambulances were exposed. The police isolated the scene of the attack, across the south of the Colombian capital was a large contingent of security forces in action.
For decades, Colombia has suffered from an armed conflict between the armed forces, left-wing guerrilla groups and right-wing paramilitaries. The rebel groups and the Medellín cartel led by drug chief Pablo Escobar, especially in the 1980s, have repeatedly carried out heavy explosive attacks in the capital Bogotá.
Recently, however, the security situation in the South American country has improved. The largest rebel organization Farc has now concluded a peace treaty with the government and laid down its arms. However, the small group of guerrillas ELN is still fighting against the state. Criminal unions involved in drug trafficking are also involved in bloody conflicts with the police and the armed forces.