At Least 3 Dead, 9 Injured In Explosion At Bogota Shopping Center

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At least three women were killed and nine injured after an explosive machine exploded in a restroom in an busy upscale shopping center in Colombia’s capital on Saturday, officials said.

The Andino shopping center in an exclusive field of Bogota was evacuated after the explosions at around 5 p. m. local time in the women’s lavatory. The Andino commercial center was jam-pack with people buying endowments ahead of Father’s Day galas on Sunday.

Police said the device was placed in a lavatory bowl in the second-floor restroom. Bogota Mayor Enrique Penalosa denounced the attack.

” This cowardly terrorist attack in Andino really hurts me ,” he said on Twitter.

One of the victims was a 23 -year-old French woman “whove been” volunteering in a poor field of the city, he told reporters.

Streets surrounding the shopping center were closed and builds vacated by police as ambulances raced to the incident and security officials tried to establish who was responsible for the blast. Bomb squad specialists combed the region in a sought for additional devices.

Photographs on social media depicted a woman slumped against the wall with a pond of blood around her and what appears to be a large shard of metal piercing her back. In front of her is another woman with her leg torn apart above the knee.

Another image testified the destroyed lavatory cubicle with a blood-splattered handrail and rubble strewn all over the floor.

President Juan Manuel Santos has ordered an investigation into the incident.

Security has improved in Bogota over the last decade as police and military increased monitoring and set more armed officials on the streets. At one time all bags were checked at the entering to shopping malls, but that has been vastly scaled back in recent years.

Sniffer hounds still check autoes at parking facilities in the capital.

A peace accord signed last year with the Revolutionary Armed Personnels of Colombia( FARC ), the country’s biggest “guerrillas “, grew confidence suicide bombing attack might cease.

The country’s second-largest insurgent group, the National Liberation Army, or ELN, in February explosion a machine in Bogota that injured dozens of police.

Authorities said there have been threats of attacks in Bogota by the so-called Gulf Clan, groupings of former right-wing paramilitary fighters who traffic drugs.

( Reporting by Helen Murphy, Nelson Bocanegra and Carlos Vargas, editing by G Crosse)

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