A car bomb exploded outside a police academy on Bogota, Colombia on Thursday leaving at least nine dead and dozens injured, the city's mayor Enrique Penalosa said.
Videos and photos from the scene outside General Santander academy in the country's capital show a vehicle burned beyond recognition, still smoking as shrapnel surrounds the area.
No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the tragic incident yet, but rebels from the National Liberation Army have been stepping up attacks towards police in Colombia recently amid a standoff with conservative President Ivan Duque over stalled peace talks, the Associated Press reports.
The bombing is considered the deadliest to have taken place in Bogota since June 2017, when an explosion in a shopping mall there killed three people and injured 11. It is the biggest attack against a police or military facility in Bagota in over a decade.
The explosion was so powerful that it shattered the windows of surrounding buildings, witnesses said. The scene is still incredibly chaotic as this story unfolds, with ambulances and helicopters flocking to the typically secure area to document the carnage.
Colombian President Ivan Duque wrote on Twitter that he was heading straight for Bogota in light of the "miserable terror attack."
"I have given orders to the public force to determine the perpetrators of this attack and bring them to justice," Duque said in a tweet translated from Spanish to English. "All Colombians reject terrorism and are united to confront it. COLOMBIA is saddened, but does not bend to violence."
Travel advisories have long been issued by the U.S. Embassy in Colombia, encouraging increased awareness and caution due to organized crime and terror organizations, such as the National Liberation Army, known in Colombia as the ELN. Tensions have grown stronger between the guerilla group and the Colombian governmen recently, as new President Ivan Duque required that the group release their hostages before taking part in any peace negotiations. In response, the terror group has reportedly been fueling violence in rural port cities such as Tumaco.
In an article written by the National Liberation Army, published just yesterday, January 16, the terror group wrote the "National Army openly threatens paramilitary operations against the population," because of a "war decreed by the government of Iván Duque" against the Northeastern region of Colombia.