BOGOTA, Colombia — A car bomb exploded at a heavily guarded police academy in Colombia’s capital on Thursday, killing 10 people and injuring dozens in an attack that recalled the bloodiest chapters of the country’s drug-fueled guerrilla conflict.
The scene outside the General Santander police academy in southern Bogota was chaotic in the aftermath of the midmorning attack, the biggest against a police or military facility in Bogota in years.
Videos circulating on social media show panicked officers hauling injured colleagues on stretchers with debris and body parts strewn in front of red tile-roofed cadet barracks. In the distance, the skeletal steel remains of the truck used in the attack can be seen still burning while approaching ambulances blare.
President Ivan Duque rushed back to the capital with his top military advisers from a visit to a western state to oversee the police investigation, which points to a possible suicide bombing — something unprecedented in decades of political violence in the Andean nation.
Chief Prosecutor Nestor Martinez said a 56-year-old man named Jose Aldemar Rojas, driving a 1993 Nissan pick-up loaded with 175 pounds of pentolite, carried out the attack. He said the car had its last official mechanical revision some six months ago in the eastern state of Arauca, along the border with Venezuela.
“This is an attack not only against the young, the security forces or the police. It’s an attack against society,” Duque said in a brief statement after surveying the blast scene. “This demented terrorist act will not go unpunished.”
The defense ministry said 10 people were killed and another 66 injured. Among the dead were a Panamanian and an Ecuadorian national.
Rafael Trujillo said he was delivering a care package to his son Gerson, who entered the school just two days ago, when he was stopped in his tracks by the blast that destroyed windows in apartment buildings as far as four blocks away.
“I’m sad and very worried because I don’t have any information about my son,” said Trujillo, standing outside the facility, where police officers had set up a taped perimeter.