Fiery bus explosion in Colombia kills seven and injures 11 as officials rule out terror attack
- A passenger bus exploded in Cauca, Colombia, on Monday night killing seven
- The explosion also injured 11 other people, which included an 11-year-old girl and several passengers traveling in two cars
- The Colombian army said the incident was not directly related to an act of terror
- The explosion took place on a highway in Rosas, a city in the province of Cauca that is key to drug trafficking
- The mayor of Rosas, Roberto Campo Osorio, told Noticias Caracol that the vehicle was carrying at least 60 kilos of explosives
At least seven people died and 11 more, including an 11-year-old girl, were injured when a bus exploded while driving down a highway in southeast Colombia.
The deadly incident occurred in a key drug-trafficking region where illegal armed groups vie for control, a high-ranking military official said on Tuesday.
The explosion, which is being investigated by authorities, happened approximately at 7.30pm Monday in a rural region of Colombia’s Cauca province, some 300 miles southeast of capital city Bogotá.
It is unknown how many passengers were inside the bus when it exploded.
General Jorge Isaacs Hoyos, commander of the Colombian army’s third division, ruled out a terror attack.
‘This was no attack,’ Hoyos said. ‘This was a passenger vehicle moving from Pasto towards Cali. It was moving when it exploded.’
At least seven people were killed Monday when a bus exploded with traveling on a highway in southeast Colombia. Authorities confirmed the incident is linked to terrorism
An investigator speaking under the condition of anonymity told Colombian newspaper El Tiempo that at least 60 kilos of explosives were being ferried by the bus before it exploded
According to Colombian outlet Noticias Caracol, the mayor of Rosas, Roberto Campo Osorio, said the vehicle was carrying at least 60 kilos of pentolite, an explosive used for military and civilian purposes.
A source with the prosecutor’s office, speaking under the condition of anonymity, told El Tiempo newspaper that the explosives could have been transported from Ecuador.
‘Experts managed to establish that the explosive material was in the front of the vehicle, and it exploded generating a wave from front to back,’ the source told El Tiempo.
Those who died were thrown from the vehicle when it exploded, the general Hoyos said.
The explosion also struck two other vehicles and forced them from the road, injuring those inside.
The explosion caused injuries to 11 people, including an 11-year-old girl
Authorities investigating Monday night’s bus explosion in Colombia believe the explosives inside the bus were being delivered to Popayán for use in illegal mining or to Cali to be used for a terror plot
The injured girl, 11, was travelling in one vehicle with three other male adults. The explosion also damaged several homes and caused injuries to at least four residents.
Officials were awaiting DNA samples to identify the remains of the dead passengers.
The vehicle was part of Cooperativa Supertaxi’s fleet, which operates out of Pasto, the capital of the province of Nariño, and transited over the Cali-Pasto route.
Authorities were investigating two possible theories as to why the explosives were being ferried by the vehicle.
Officials said the explosives perhaps were destined to be delivered to Popayán for use in illegal mining, and also mentioned they could have been slated to be transported to Cali for a terror plot.
Monday night’s deadly bus explosion in southeast Colombian took place in an area key to guerrillas of the National Liberation Army [ELN], dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and criminal groups tied to drug trafficking
A vehicle is engulfed in flames after a bus exploded while traveling on a highway in Colombia
A government source told Colombian newspaper El Tiempo that the explosives could have originated from Ecuador
The region where the explosion too place is contested by guerrillas of the National Liberation Army [ELN], dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia [FARC] – who returned to arms citing a breakdown of the 2016 peace deal – and criminal groups connected to drug trafficking, according to security sources.
The cultivation of coca leaves and the production of cocaine fuels conflict in the Andean country, which after more than 50 years has left 260,000 dead and millions displaced, according to the government.
The explosion happened following an escalation in attacks by the ELN in different regions of the country, where the rebels have set fire to vehicles, blocked roads, threatened citizens and attacked army patrols.
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