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At least three dead after 'cowardly terrorist bombing' in Colombian shopping centre

22 June 2017

At least three women were killed and 11 people injured on Saturday in a bomb blast at a popular shopping center in the Colombian capital Bogota, Interior Minister Guillermo Rivera said.

The mayor told reporters that one of the dead was a 23-year-old Frenchwoman.

The women who died because of the repudiated violent act, all young, were the French tourist Julie Huynh and the Colombians Ana María Gutiérrez and Lady Paola Jaimes Ovalle.

The Andino shopping centre in an exclusive area of Bogota was evacuated after the blast, which occurred around 5 pm local time (22:00 GMT) on Saturday in the women's toilet.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who will meet Santos this week as part of a previously scheduled visit to Paris by the victor of last year's Nobel Peace Prize, expressed his condolence to the victim's family while his government condemned the attack "with the greatest firmness".

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The Marxist ELN, now negotiating a peace accord with the government, on Saturday condemned the attack against civilians.

Presidents of the Pacific Alliance, which includes Santos and his counterparts from Chile, Mexico and Peru, are scheduled to meet at the end of June in the city of Cali, in eastern Colombia. The bomb went off in a women's bathroom.

Police say the explosion tore through the women's toilets at the Andino mall, in Zona Rosa, Bogota, in what Bogota's Mayor has called a "cowardly terrorist bombing".

“This is a cowardly terrorist attack that we reject, ” Peñalosa said, and announced that “both the Army and the Police have designated specialists to find those responsible for this cowardly attack.”.

Still, the Andino shopping center would seem a hard target.

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Andres Bermudez, his hands still trembling in the aftermath of the attack, described "people crying in panic".

FARC, one of the country's largest rebel groups and which is in the process of disarming after signing a peace deal with the government previous year, also denied its involvement.

"My solidarity with the victims". "They are very important to direct the investigation and obtain determining those responsible", he explained.

"ELN-Paz condemns this deplorable incident", the group wrote on its Twitter account, noting that the attack was "against civilians". He said authorities were providing assistance to the victim's mother, who was also in Bogota.

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