Iran Condemns Attack on Colombia Police Academy

Police and security personnel work at the scene of the explosion

Colombian authorities said Friday that a one-armed explosives expert belonging to the country's last remaining rebel group carried out a auto bombing against a police academy that left 21 dead, raising tough questions about lingering security threats in the wake of a peace deal with FARC rebels.

Masse said the bombing could change the political landscape of Colombia over the coming years, with "an increasingly radicalised and divided ELN guerrilla, a strengthened security policy and the government taking on the ELN in a frontal struggle, plunging the country into a situation of neither war nor peace".

Colombian President Ivan Duque has announced a crackdown on the guerrilla group National Liberation Army (ELN) following a deadly vehicle bombing, and asked Cuba to arrest 10 of its peace negotiators who are on the Caribbean island.

"All Colombians reject terrorism and we're united in fighting it", President Ivan Duque tweeted in the aftermath.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. He died in the attack.

The worst of the war, which killed some 260,000 and left millions displaced, ended when the government reached a peace agreement with the FARC in 2016.

Restrepo said he expects the attack to be a defining moment for Duque, who was elected past year on a law and order platform highly critical of his predecessor's peacemaking but since taking office has taken a more moderate stance.

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Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez said at the same press conference that Colombian authorities early Friday arrested a suspect in the attack identified as Ricardo Andres Carvajal.

He also vowed to condemn any government that provides safe haven to the group - an indirect shot at Venezuela, considered by some a valuable rearguard for the clandestine cell that Rojas is accused of belonging to.

Talks with the group have been suspended for months but Duque had allowed the rebel leaders to remain in Cuba in the hopes the group would meet his demands for talks to resume.

Cuba, which had been sponsoring peace talks and helped broker the historic 2016 deal with the FARC, again offered its condolences to Colombia on Saturday.

There was no indication the ELN was behind the attack in Bogota or that the kidnapping was linked. "So I totally condemned it and I want to express my total solidarity with the people of Colombia".

Overnight, the death toll from the Thursday morning bombing more than doubled to 21, making it the deadliest attack in Colombia in over a decade.

"The secretary-general strongly condemns the auto bombing at a police academy in Bogota", said Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric in a statement. He said security cameras in the area show that a man got out of the Nissan pick-up less than 10 minutes before the blast. Defence Minister Guillermo Botero, speaking from the presidential palace, described Thursday's auto bombing as a long-planned "terrorist attack committed by the ELN". He then drove into the heart of the school where the vehicle exploded in front of a red tile-roofed barrack used by female cadets just after an honor ceremony had concluded.

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