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Car bomb explosion at Colombia military base in Cucuta injures dozens

Medical workers transfer a wounded soldier on a stretcher in a hospital following a explosion at a military base in Cucuta, Colombia on June 15, 2021.(Photo by AFP) .

A car bomb explosion has hit a military base in the Colombian border city of Cucuta.

Unidentified people who posed as government officials drove into the base on Tuesday afternoon and set off the explosion, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

At least 36 people are said to have sustained injuries in the attack. Two are civilians.

Defense minister Diego Molano described the attack as a "terrorist act."

Molano said that the explosion was the result of the detonation of a bomb in a Toyota that entered the territory of the 30th Brigade of the Army with two people inside.

According to the minister, the perpetrators were suspected to be from the National Liberation Army, one of the armed rebel groups active in the country. 

"All my solidarity with the 36 people who were injured, including 2 civilians. We are with our soldiers. Nothing and nobody frightens our Public Force. We will continue to ensure the security and defense of Colombians", Molano tweeted.

FARC guerrillas, who had refused to sign a 2016 peace agreement with the government, were also "a matter of investigation," the minister noted.

President Ivan Duque wrote on Twitter that he was traveling to Cucuta "to directly supervise the situation."

Duque pulled out of peace negotiations with ELN rebels following a "crazy terrorist act" at a cadet school in southern Bogota in 2019, which left 22 students dead.

Cucuta is located in northeastern Colombia near the border with Venezuela.

ELN rebels, ex-FARC militants, members of a demobilized Maoist insurgency, and numerous criminal gangs are scattered in the remote region.

The rival armed groups fight one another for control over the region, which is an important smuggling route to the Caribbean.

Colombia is in the midst of its worst outbreak of violence since the signing of a peace deal with FARC.

FARC was Latin America's longest and strongest insurgency. The rebel group was disarmed and transformed into a political party after the peace deal took effect under former president Juan Manuel Santos. He won the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for striking the deal.

Duque rose to power vowing to change the conditions of the 2016 agreement that put an end to the conflict with FARC rebels.

FARC rebels had fought the central government of the Latin American country for nearly six decades.

It is estimated that the FARC insurgency resulted in more than nine million victims, including those who were killed or displaced by the conflict.

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