Authorities investigating Tuesday’s Bogota terrorist attack that targeted a former minister said Wednesday they do not rule out that the FARC or “another terrorist group” is responsible for the bombing in Bogota.
Investigators revealed that at least 10 people were involved in the murder plot based on the sophisticated nature of the attack.
A car bomb was found and defused near Bogota police headquarters prior to the terrorist attack that killed two people and injured dozens more in the city’s financial district. Police arrested Jesus Antonio Monroy Alvarez, who is suspected of parking the car as a decoy. Alvarez allegedly has ties to the FARC’s now-demobilized 7th Front. He pled guilty to charges of manufacturing and transporting illegal weapons and was sentenced to two years in prison.
Another man was also arrested for his involvement in the manufacturing of the bomb, but pled not guilty in court Wednesday.
Fernando Londoño is the former Interior Minister and close ally to ex- President Alvaro Uribe. He had been the target of FARC threats in the past, according to Andrez Villamizar, director of the National Protection Unit, the government agency meant to provide security for threatened citizens.
Information extracted from FARC computers “talked about a bomb being planted with magnets,” the same method observed by one of Londoño’s bodyguards.
“What the experts say is that this is not a normal technique [in Colombia] and this has raised questions that are part of the investigation today,” Pinzon explained. Similar methods have been used in attacks by terrorist groups in the Middle East, Europe and Asia, the minister added.
This has led to Colombian authorities reaching out to foreign intelligence agencies like the FBI in the U.S and the Scotland Yard, among others, to help with further investigation into the matter.
Wednesday marked the first meeting between officials in Colombia’s newly- formed Counterterrorism Committee, the Technical Investigation Team (CTI) and the National Police to pore over witness testimonies and security footage from the scene of the crime.
Video from several surveillance cameras show a man believed to be between the ages of 17-20, wearing a baseball cap and a wig with glass beads walking up to Londoño’s armored car before fleeing the scene on the back of a motorcycle driven by an accomplice.
Police are reviewing testimony from a Bogota taxi driver who claimed to have picked up a bloodied man who may match the video footage, just 10 blocks from the scene of the attack. According to a police report seen by the Associated Press, the man said to the driver “Get me out of here” before the driver refused due to the wound on his arm. Authorities have released three sketches of the suspect based on witness descriptions.
The international community condemned the terrorist act and offered support to Colombia following the fatal incident. “The U.S. continues to support Colombia in its efforts to put an end to terrorism within a framework of respect for human rights and legality,” said U.S. State Department spokesperson William Ostick.
“The Colombian people do not deserve this pain. The OAS [Organization of American States] will continue to do everything in its power so that the violence comes to an end in this beloved country,” said Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary-General of the international organization.