BOGOTA, Colombia – Colombia is blaming the National Liberation Army, a leftist guerrilla group, for Thursday’s deadly car bombing that left 21 dead and 68 injured – one of the worst terrorist attacks in the capital in a decade.
In a press conference Friday, Defense Minister Guillermo Botero said the driver of the vehicle, Jose Aldemar Rojas Rodriguez, had a long history with the ELN.
Authorities said Rojas, 56, had been a member of the guerrilla group since 1994 and had been an explosives instructor and had previously lost his right hand. The police recovered his left arm at the site of the blast, at the Escuela General Santander police academy, and were able to identify him by his fingerprints.
The attack comes as the government had been considering restarting peace talks with the ELN in Cuba, but the administration had been demanding that the group release all of the 16 hostages it’s thought to be holding.
Colombian Peace Commissioner Miguel Ceballos said President Ivan Duque would have to make the determination if those talks are still viable. “The ELN has not made a single gesture that suggests it wants peace,” Ceballos said.
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