One of the 17 victims of a car bomb that exploded in the southwestern Colombian city of Popayan Saturday has died of his injuries. Authorities said Sunday that leftist rebels of the ELN are responsible for the terrorist attack.
The fatal victim was one of three taken to hospital in critical condition after the bomb went off at a police check point in the east of the city.
While local authorities initially blamed leftist guerrilla group FARC for the attack, police commissioner of the Cauca department, General Orlando Pineda, told reporters that intelligence authorities concluded it was the ELN, the country’s second largest leftist guerrilla group, who carried out the attack.
“The investigation established clearly that [those responsible for the attack] is a criminal faction of the ELN,” the police official said, adding that an even bigger tragedy was avoided as “it also was established that the vehicle was trying to enter the center” of the department capital.
According to Spanish news agency EFE, the two men driving the car were able to get away when the police discovered the car bomb in the back of the white Mazda. Authorities said that the bomb was detonated shortly after being discovered.
Armed Forces commander Admiral Edgar Cely announced a $168,000 dollar reward for information leading to the arrest of ELN commander Ovidio Antonio Parra Cortes, alias “El Tio,” who is said to be behind the attack.
The Cauca department has seen dozens of attacks of leftist rebel groups since the beginning of the year. The department is considered crucial for the transport of illicit drugs from the southern jungles of Colombia to the Pacific Ocean from where the drugs are shipped to Central America or Ecuador.