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the anguished moments after the attack on Bogota



The sky became gray and the sirens put an end to the silence of those who did not understand what was happening. The car bomb that was activated in a police academy in the south of Bogotá has invaded the panic and the indignation of a country trying to pass the page of violence.

"When we turned to look at the school, the sky was gray with smoke, people were running, the sirens … horrible, horrible … it seemed like the end of the world," Rosalba Jimenez, a dealer of 62, told AFP years.

In his clothing store, where police students buy their clothes, there is no uninterrupted glass left. But he was lucky: no friend was hit by this attack that has so far killed nine people, including an Ecuadorian agent and 54 wounded.

Around nine-thirty in the morning the neighbors of General Francisco de Paula Santander School heard a thunderous explosion that recalled the era of Pablo Escobar's narcoterrorism more than two decades ago, or when the FARC loose guerrilla was still in his armed uprising.

A 1993 Nissan Patrol truck loaded with 80 kilos of pentolite exploded at the entrance to the training center, according to the indictment.

"I saw that all the cadets were running (…) at school," said Berta Tucen, 62, who was taken away from the windows and lifted her shingles from her warehouse. "It was complete chaos."

– Some "laugh", others cry –

Although the authorities did not investigate the detonation, an AFP journalist in the area has heard several police officers talk to each other in detail about the incident.

The agents said an anti-explosive dog detected the load. When it was discovered, the driver accelerated and invested a policeman. Three men in uniform followed the vehicle, which exploded in the second and put an end to the life of José Aldemar Rojas Rodríguez, identified by the accusation as a material author and persecutors.

Mauricio Cárdenas pedaled along the exclusive route for cyclists near the school. He says that a few seconds before the noise, he saw the academy uniform making the signal to stop a car. "After a bit of 'itching' … (the explosion) was immediately," says this 53-year-old technician.

"Right there they closed the bikes and the police and everything came and they started to close" the place, he said.

Neither the authorities nor the citizens even dared to report a responsible person. With the FARC transformed into a party, only the rebels of the National Liberation Army (ELN), the dissidents of the former communist guerrilla warfare and the paramilitary-born narco gangs operate in Colombia.

In the midst of armed conflict and drug violence, some have been tricked by illegal groups to carry out their armed actions. They have even been killed during or after them.

The relatives of the students waited outside the training center for the news of their relatives, while in social networks citizens and political sectors showed their repudiation of the criminal act.

"We have to tell people not to do it, we are a country that wants peace, and this can not be done in this way," said Carlos Andrés Mancilla, a relative of two police officers, on the outskirts of the school. "The terrorists (…) laugh while we cry."


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