Three people were killed and nine were injured when a bomb exploded at a mall in #colombia Saturday evening. The bomb exploded at 5:00 p.m. in the second-floor women's restroom of a popular Bogota #Shopping Mall, Centro Andino. It was placed inside the toilet bowl, police reported.

Bogota Mayor Enrique Penalosa denounced the bombing on Twitter as a "cowardly #Terrorist Attack."

"The commercial center was packed with people buying gifts ahead of Father's Day celebrations on Sunday," Reuters reported.

Victims

Penalosa identified one of the deceased as 23 year old Julie Huynh from France. She had been in Colombia for the past six months volunteering at a school in a low income neighbor.

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Her mother was in Bogota too, according to the Washington Post, and they had planned on returning to France within the coming days.

The two other victims died at the hospital. Both were women, according to Reuters.

Terrorist group

The National Liberation Army, known as ELN, was assumed to be responsible. They denied culpability and denounced the attack on Twitter.

ELN has carried out recent attacks in Bogota. It has also been involved in several peace talks with the Colombian government to stop the violence.

The mall is thought to be a difficult target, according to The Washington Post. Due to the attacks and security concerns, Centro Andino has bomb-sniffing dogs to screen cars entering the parking garage and security guards present throughout the mall.

In Colombia, ELN is the second-largest leftist guerrilla group behind the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, or FARC.

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ELN began as a nationalist movement, and "now appears more focused on kidnapping, extortion and attacks on economic infrastructure" according to Insight Crime. The group is believed to have 2,500 soldiers, almost half of what its forces were in 1990s.

"Authorities said there have been threats of attacks in Bogota by the so-called Gulf Clan," Reuters reported.

The Gulf Clan is "made up of former mid-level paramilitary leaders," according to Insight Crime. It is a right-wing group of drug traffickers with nearly 2,000 soldiers. In 2013, it was the last criminal gang to have a national presence in Colombia.

It was rumored in 2015 that the Gulf Clan was also negotiating a peace deal with the government.

Current known facts

  • No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • Penalosa said there is no hint of further attacks.
  • Police are investigating to determine what the explosive device was made of.