Explosion near Colombia airport kills two police officers
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) – Colombian police are investigating two explosions that occurred in the border town of Cucuta on Tuesday that killed two police officers near the town’s airport.
Defense Minister Diego Molano said the explosions were caused by “terrorist” groups operating in the city of half a million people, which is located on the border with Venezuela and is a hub. for trade and migration.
Police said the first explosion occurred at 5 a.m. as a man carrying explosives attempted to climb through a fence separating the airport runway from one of the city’s neighborhoods. The man died instantly in the explosion. About an hour later, a second explosion occurred as police inspected a package that had been left in the area, killing two members of the police anti-explosive team.
Although the explosions took place near the airport runway, the passenger terminal was not affected. But flights were suspended and passengers were evacuated from the building.
Cucuta is the capital of the northern state of Santander, a border region that has recently seen an upsurge in fighting between guerrilla groups and drug trafficking gangs vying for control of coca crops and trafficking routes . In June, a car bomb was set off at a military base on the outskirts of the city, where US military advisers were working. Then, in August, a bomb exploded outside a police station, injuring 14 people. President Ivan Duque’s helicopter was also targeted during a recent visit to the city. The president escaped the attack unscathed.
Armed organizations operating in northern Santander include the National Liberation Army guerrilla group and dissident groups formed by former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia who refused to sign a peace accord in 2016 with the Colombian government.
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