Three women are dead and another nine are injured due to an explosive device that set off in a restroom in a shopping center Saturday in Bogota, Colombia’s capital city. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, but President Juan Manuel Santos has ordered an investigation.
The detonation occurred in the Andino Shopping Center at 5 p.m., when the complex was packed with crowds buying gifts for Father’s Day celebrations. Police quickly evacuated the shopping center and surrounding streets after the explosion while ambulances rushed to the scene and bomb-squad specialists searched the area for any additional explosives.
“This cowardly terrorist attack in Andino really hurts me,” Bogota Mayor Enrique Penalosa tweeted. He told reporters that one of the three victims was a French humanitarian volunteer who had been working in a poor part of the city.
Colombia has several high-profile armed anti-government groups that have a history of causing violence. One of them, the insurgent group National Liberation Army, or ELN, exploded another bomb in Bogota in February. Dozens of police suffered injuries in that incident.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, is the largest anti-government group, but a peace accord that the government and FARC signed last year had raised hopes that any FARC-related violence might cease. As of this week, FARC has surrendered 40% of its weapons to the government.
But authorities said that a third group, the Gulf Clan, is still at large and still poses a threat. The Gulf Clan is a drug-trafficking syndicate of former right-wing paramilitary fighters that has issued threats to attack Bogota recently.