Six people were killed when a large car bomb exploded Wednesday morning in the center of Buenaventura on Colombia’s Pacific coast.
The attack, which also left 42 people injured, occurred at 9:30 AM local time in front of the mayor’s office and the Inspector General’s office of Buenaventura, reports El Espectador.
Following the explosion, Army and Navy soldiers cordoned off the area and assisted in the evacuation of the injured, who were transported to local hospitals.
Yerlis Fori, the director the local emergency response team, told Colombian media sources that “the number of injured people continues to rise,” noting that they just “keep arriving to the hospital.”
Freddy Padilla, the head of Colombia’s Armed Forces, announced that authorities have already begun investigating the attack, which he called “a terrorist act”, in order to identify the culprits behind it.
According to the governor of the department of Valle, Juan Carlos Abadia, the vehicle used in the attack was left overnight and activated in Wednesday morning while there were a lot of pedestrians in the area.
The governor went on to explain that the attack could be attributed to the FARC, who he said are feeling the heat of authorities on them, following the burning of seven trucks on the Buenaventura-Buga highway two days earlier.
“It could be backlash because the Army and the Navy are going after these bandits from the day that they burned the semi-trucks, they need terrorist acts for distraction.”
In addition, the governor also explains that political reasons associated with the upcoming presidential elections could be the reason, saying that with “the upcoming elections, they seek to destabilize things and generate an atmosphere of fear and anxiety.”