Police generals investigated over ELN terrorist attack that killed 22

Colombia’s Inspector General’s Office announced investigations against two police generals whose alleged negligence may have allowed the ELN to kill 21 and injure more than 70 police cadets in a terrorist attack last year.

One of the investigated top cops is Brigadier General Juliette Giomar, the general of the General Santander police academy in the capital Bogota where the car bomb took place on January 17 last year.

The second is Mayor General Carlos Enrique Rodriguez, the national director of police academies.

Both generals face disciplinary investigations to establish “whether the officers ordered and took the necessary actions not only to safeguard the security of the school facilities, but also of the staff working, training or visiting there.”

Video footage indicates that the bomber, who died in the attack, was able to enter the police academy without apparent problems as the school’s gates were left open and no alarm went off despite the unauthorized entry of the explosives-laden car.

The apparent absence of adequate security measures allowed the bomber to park his car near to a group of cadets in the center of the academy and trigger the deadliest terrorist attack in the capital since 2002.

It wasn’t until after the attack that the alarm went off, the video footage indicate.

New evidence was ordered to establish the procedure for the comprehensive assessment of physical security carried out by the Police Intelligence Directorate, the protocols implemented to provide security for personnel and facilities, and the actions taken to detect security breaches and adopt corrective measures.

Inspector General’s Office

Former chief prosecutor Nestor Humberto Martinez and former Defense Minister Guillermo Botero initially claimed that the bomber had forced his way into the school campus, but this was proven to be false by local media.

The prosecution never opened any criminal neglect investigations, but did file criminal charges against the ELN’s Central Command on claims they are responsible “by line of command.”

Among the commanders is “Pablito,” whose Eastern Front is believed to be behind the attack.

At least three people were filmed escorting the bomber to the police academy, but none of these suspects have been identified or arrested.

The prosecution did arrest three people in an apparent rush to show results, but none of these suspects have been proven guilty.

The ELN never formally claimed responsibility for the attack, but did justify the bombing, claiming “the realized operation on such installations and forces is legal within war law.”

The guerrilla group has been at war with the Colombian state since 1964 and was engaged in peace talks until they were suspended by President Ivan Duque when he took office in August 2018.

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