Colombia accuses FARC dissidents of car bomb that injured dozens

Bombing in Corinto on Friday injured 43 people, including several public officials, defence minister says.

Police inspect damage caused by a blast in front of Corinto Mayor's Office, on March 26 [Paola Mafla/AFP]

The government of Colombia has accused dissidents of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) of detonating a car bomb on Friday that injured dozens of people including several public officials.

Defence Minister Diego Molano said early on Saturday that 43 people were injured in the bombing in the town of Corinto, about 60km (37 miles) south of Cali in western Colombia.

Six people were seriously hurt, while 20 others suffered minor injuries, Molano said.

“We express our solidarity with all those affected by this indiscriminate terrorist attack that took place … with a car bomb in front of the mayor’s office in Corinto,” he said in a recorded video statement.

He blamed the attack on the Dagoberto Ramos Mobile Column, a dissident group of the FARC.

Debris is seen as emergency crew work in the aftermath of a blast outside the mayor’s office and city hall in Corinto, on March 26, 2021 [Corinto’s Mayor Office/Handout via Reuters]

FARC dissidents rejected a 2016 peace deal which ended the group’s part in the armed conflict in Colombia, which has left 260,000 dead and millions displaced.

Colombian government officials and the army have said some 2,500 to 3,000 FARC dissidents remain throughout the country.

President Ivan Duque condemned the bombing on Friday, saying, “Those who use this type of practice are the enemies of peace in our country.”

The United Nations mission to Colombia also condemned the attack and expressed solidarity for the victims and their families.

“We call for the implementation of concrete measures for the comprehensive protection of the communities and the strengthening of security guarantees in the territories affected by the violence,” it said in a statement on Friday.

Colombia has seen an increase in violence during the past year.

In a report released last week, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said 389 people were killed by explosive devices in 2020 across the country – the highest total since 2016 – and most of the victims were civilians.

The ICRC also said 571 people have been reported missing since 2016 – an average of one missing person every three days.

In early March, the government said the Colombian military bombed a base used by FARC dissidents in the country’s southeast, killing 10 dissidents and injured three others.

Earlier this week, one of Colombia’s most notorious ex-FARC leaders called on the US Congress to ask for help implementing the peace agreement.

In a letter, Rodrigo Londono asked Congress “to begin the promising process of developing our country to embrace lasting proposals to eradicate drug trafficking, modernize the territory and protect life”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies