Centro Andino in Bogotá evacuated, area cordoned off after explosion
At least three people were killed and eight others injured Saturday when a deliberate explosion rocked the second floor of one of this city’s most iconic shopping malls.
“It hurts that there has been a cowardly terrorist attack in the Centro Andino,” Mahor Enrique Peñalosa said at a news outside the shopping center where the blast occurred.
Peñalosa confirmed a female victim killed in the explosion is a French citizen who had been volunteering for the last six months in a public school in a poor area of Bogotá.
“Regarding the event today in the Centro Andino, I have ordered Gen. Jorge Nieto to head up the investigation and keep me informed,” President Juan Manuel Santos said via Twitter. “My solidarity with the victims.”
The Centro Andino in the northern Chapinero district is one of the Colombian capital’s most popular shopping centers and is close to international restaurants, bars.
More than 500 people were in the building at the time of the explosion which reportedly occurred in the women’s bathroom.
Witnesses described a deafening noise and smoke filling parts of the shopping mall.
The entire area around the center has been cordoned off and evacuated as anti-explosive experts, the fire brigade and police inspect the area.
The injured have been transferred to a nearby hospital where some have been listed as being in critical condition.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the explosion.