Car Bomb in Colombia Leaves 6 Dead and Over 42 Injured

Deformed vehicles, overcrowded hospitals and damaged buildings created a sense of panic among Colombian civilians on the morning of March 24th. A car bomb went off in Buenaventura, Colombia that reeked havoc on the residents and the local hospital after killing six residents and injuring over 42. Out of the six victims that died, five were civilians and one was a policeman. The car bomb exploded inside a Mazda 323 hatchback vehicle and led the hospital to declare a state of emergency, resulting in chaos and unanswered questions. The car bomb ruined a portion of the local office of the attorney general in Buenaventura. In addition to the damage there, mangled taxis and ruined storefronts were displayed on local television screens minutes after the explosion took place.

Although no motive was identified at the scene of the tragedy, there are some suspected criminals. The commander of Colombia's armed forces, General Freddy Padilla, recognized the suspicion that the bomb could have been constructed and put into place by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, also known as FARC. FARC consists of 6,000 to 10,000 fighters who have been retaliating against the government of Colombia for over forty-five years. Members of FARC are a major threat in rural areas of Colombia because they utilize hit-and-run attacks, homemade landmines, and ambushes in order to harass army and police patrols. FARC was also suspected of causing a similar incident this March 22nd, 2010 in Buenaventura, where seven-tractor-trailers lit on fire on a popular highway.

Yet Deputy Attorney General Guillermo Mendoza said that he hypothesized the incident was caused by drug traffickers, which have always been a big issue in Colombia. Buenaventura is not only Colombia’s largest port that deals with most of it’s coffee exports, but it is also notorious for being a popular drug trafficking route from Colombia to the United States. Buenaventura serves as a key area where cocaine is smuggled and rebel militia has been known to ambush police patrol. The Deputy predicted that the drug traffickers were either acting out against rival gangs or were acting out against the government.

This tragedy was the most serious car bombing Colombia has experienced since 2008, when an explosion caused the death of four people in front of the palace of justice in Cali, Colombia. Current President Alvara Uribe has offered a reward of up to $150,000 for any information leading to who was responsible for the bombing. So far, no specific group has owned up to causing the explosion that killed and injured the innocent civilians of Buenaventura.