Deadly blasts in Colombian capital

One woman has died and 72 people have been injured in a double bomb attack in a crowded Bogota neighbourhood.

    Colombia has been shaken by violence in the past

    The woman died in hospital after the explosions hit two adjacent pubs late on Saturday, said Luis Fernando Dorado, head of Bogota emergency services on Sunday.

    Three of the wounded were US citizens, said a secret police source. Staff of the US Embassy arrived at the scene but did not comment.
      
    The source, who did not wish to be named, said a guard in the vicinity had captured a person who planted one of the explosive devices.
      
    President Alvaro Uribe mourned for the victims and vowed to defeat the "terrorists" behind the attacks.

    Party-goers hit

    The explosions, which occurred seconds apart just after 22:20 (0320 GMT on Sunday), when the upmarket Zona Rosa area was crowded with restaurant and bar-goers.
      
    The scene was chaotic as emergency personnel rushed the wounded to medical centres in Bogota, which have treated victims of numerous bomb blasts in the past two years. 


     
    On 8 October, a car bomb exploded in the south of the capital, killing six and injuring 21 others. 

    On 7 February, a car-bomb attack at an elegant club in the city killed 36 and injured 170. The attack was blamed on the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, though the rebel group denied responsibility.

    Upheaval

    Colombian authorities have been
    battling FARC guerrillas

    Authorities say they have seized tonnes of explosives and detained dozens of FARC guerrillas in recent months in the capital.  
      
    Several explosions rocked the capital in 2002, including one on

     7 August, during Uribe's inauguration. That blast killed 21, wounded 70 and damaged a wing of the Palace of  Government.
      
    The latest attacks come after a month of upheaval and setbacks for the popular president. 


      
    Three key cabinet members and the heads of the military and police resigned in the past two weeks, after Uribe last month lost a referendum on measures he had proposed to reform Colombian institutions and help wage war on rebels.
      
    He wasted no time in replacing members of his team in order to make good on his promise to crack down on rebel groups that have sunk the country into its worst economic slump since the Second World war.
      
    Uribe was elected on campaign promises of a hard line against guerrilla groups, especially the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN). 
      
    The FARC and the ELN have harried government forces for four decades. In the 1980s, paramilitary armies took up the fight against the guerrillas. All commit violations of international humanitarian law, including the kidnapping of civilians. All except the ELN are known to participate in the drugs trade.

    SOURCE: AFP


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