BOGOTA, Colombia — Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos vowed to capture those responsible for detonating a homemade bomb that killed three people, including a French woman, in a busy shopping mall over the weekend and threatened to undermine years of security gains.
Santos offered a reward of around $35,000 to anyone with information about Saturday’s attack at the upscale Centro Andino in the heart of the city’s tourist district. The bomb, placed behind a toilet in a second-floor women’s bathroom, went off as the mall was filled with Father’s Day shoppers.
Much attention has focused on the National Liberation Army, the last major rebel movement still active in Colombia, which has carried a spate of recent attacks against mostly police targets in the capital. But leaders of the group have repudiated the bombing and Santos refused to feed speculation on the possible perpetrators to not interfere in the investigation in its critical, early phase.
In appealing for calm and unity, Santos touched on Colombia’s long history of successfully combating drug-fueled violence and political extremism, saying the latest attack wouldn’t derail peace efforts that have already resulted in a peace deal with the country’s main guerrilla movement, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
“The Colombian people have the temperance, the resilience and the bravery to fight terrorism successfully,” he said Sunday after a meeting with his top security aides. “You can be sure we’re not going to let what we’ve achieved so far be stopped by a handful of extremist coward or people who don’t want to see reconciliation in Colombia.”
Later, he had a Father’s Day lunch at the mall with his son, encouraging others to go…