Nine people were killed and 50 others wounded yesterday in a massive explosion in the port city of Buenaventura, 200 miles south of Bogota. The incident took place in front of the city’s municipal offices and that of the local district attorney. No group has yet officially taken credit for the attack, but government officials are blaming the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), an urban militia called Manuel Cepeda, and local drug bosses.
The apparent terrorist act came two days after FARC rebels allegedly burned seven trucks on the highway between Buenaventura and nearby Buga, effectively blocking the route for hours. These incidents have raised concerns among local authorities, who fear the attacks are part of a FARC strategy to raise its profile ahead of May’s presidential elections.
The bombing is the biggest in recent years in Colombia and can complicate ongoing negotiations between the government and the FARC to free two long-captive army officers.