Emergency workers at the blast scene. (AP/William Fernando Martinez)
Emergency workers at the blast scene. (AP/William Fernando Martinez)

Colombian attorney general says car bomb targeted station

New York, August 12, 2010–A car bomb exploded early this morning outside the building of national Caracol Radio in the capital city of Bogotá, causing serious damage and injuring at least nine people, local new reports said. President Juan Manuel Santos, who took office on Saturday, described the explosion as “a terrorist act,” and said it was intended to create a climate of fear. Attorney General Guillermo Mendoza said the attack was aimed at the radio station, during an interview with Caracol. “It is an act of intimidation against the media,” Mendoza said without providing any specifics.

At least 110 pounds (50 kilograms) of explosives were detonated around 5:30 a.m., according to local and international press reports. The explosion caused considerable damage in Caracol Radio’s offices, but the station was able to remain on the air. The 12-story building also houses the offices of the Spanish news agency EFE, the Ecuadoran consulate, as well as several banks. EFE’s offices were not damaged. The blast shattered windows in more than 20 buildings in the vicinity, the press said.

Bogotá Police Chief Gen. Cesar Pinzon speculated that leftist guerrillas may have been responsible, The Associated Press reported. Pinzon said authorities were not sure who the intended target of the attack was.

“We condemn this attack and are concerned that it may have been a targeted attack on the media,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas. “We support a full and vigorous government investigation. We are concerned that the media could once again be caught in the middle of the Colombia conflict.”

In Colombia’s five-decade civil conflict, media facilities have been targeted by bomb attacks several times. The most recent car-bombing against a media outlet was in February 2005, when a car exploded outside the offices of RCN Television and Radio in Cali, the country’s third-largest city.