BOGOTA – The death toll in a car bomb attack in the Colombian police academy compound in Bogota has risen to at least 20, plus the attacker, the police said in a statement on Thursday.
The new death toll is double of the initial count of 10, which was released after an SUV laden with explosives was blown up around 9:30 am in the General Francisco de Paula Santander Officer’s School.
“The preliminary count stands at 21 deaths, including the perpetrator of the attack, and 68 injured, who were transferred to different care facilities with the help of the rescue and emergency services of the district,” the police statement said.
Colombia’s police and military training schools accept students from other Latin American countries and an Ecuadorian woman was among those killed in the explosion.
The police statement confirmed the identity of the attacker – released earlier by the attorney general – as Jose Aldemar Rojas Rodriguez, a native of the eastern province of Arauca, who died upon detonating 80 kilograms (176 pounds) of the high explosive pentolite that he was transporting in an SUV.
The vehicle was identified as a 1993 model grey Nissan Patrol, with the license plate LAF-565.
The last record of the vehicle’s transit available with the authorities shows that on July 27, 2018, it was subjected to a mechanical inspection in Arauca, situated in on Colombia’s eastern border with Venezuela.
“Joint investigations with the Attorney General and other authorities are moving forward to establish the causes and culprits behind this terrorist act which has hurt Colombians,” the police statement said.
Ecuadorean cadet Erica Chico was among the people killed in the attack, while her compatriot Carolina Sanango and Panama’s Kevin Madrid were wounded.
The police said that 58 out of the 68 injured have been discharged from hospitals and authorities are carrying out the process to identify the deceased.
In a statement, President Ivan Duque vowed to punish those responsible for the attack.
“We Colombians have never submitted to terrorism and this will not be the exception, they won’t bend us. We won’t give way a single step to those who miserably attack society,” Duque said.