Two explosions in a car bomb caused at least 36 injuries at the Colombian Army’s Brigade 30 base, where at least 12 military personnel from the U.S. Southern Command were stationed, some of whom were injured.

The military base is located in the city of Cúcuta, Norte de Santander, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela. The defense minister attributed the attack to leftist guerrillas of the ELN group, according to India Today of June 16. 

“Tonight we reject and repudiate this terrorist and vile act, which sought to attack Colombian soldiers here in the Brigade,” said Defense Minister Diego Molano, according to national media outlet Blu Radio. 

He added: “Thirty-six people were wounded. Three of them seriously”, expanding on details of the tragic event. 

Molano assured that a white Toyota van entered at 3:00 in the afternoon [local time] to the military headquarters with two men.

“Impersonating public officials. At 3:10 minutes this van had a first explosion, which, of course affected the installations, but after two minutes, at 3:12, a second explosion of the same van seriously affected the installations of this brigade.”

The importance of the attack made the president, Iván Duque, also go to Cúcuta to supervise the actions to be taken in response to the attack. 

The following video shows one of the explosions. The most affected building was the one used as offices by the U.S. military. 

“Video of the second explosion of the car bomb at the Colombian army brigade 30 in Cucuta. Looks like there were 2 explosions, both were significant explosions,” tweeted Twitter account @ConflictsW.

For its part, the U.S. embassy in Colombia reported the explosion and reported no serious injuries among its citizens.  

“The United States is proud of its longstanding cooperation with the Armed Forces of Colombia, which includes joint training and exercises.” 

“Some U.S. military personnel were at the Colombian military base, in Cucuta, conducting training with a Colombian unit, at the time of the explosion. All U.S. personnel have been accounted for and there are no reports of serious injuries.”

Since May 2020, at least 48 U.S. Southern Command military personnel have arrived in Colombia as part of the Security Forces Assistance Brigades (SFAB) counter-narcotics mission.

The SFABs are specialized units whose primary mission is to conduct training, advisory, assistance, enabling and support operations with U.S. allied and partner nations.

The first hypotheses attribute the perpetrators of the crime to members of the leftist guerrilla group ELN, in complicity with members of the 33rd Front of the so-called ‘dissidences’ of the FARC guerrilla group. 

The area where the explosions occurred is very conflictive due to its proximity to Venezuela and to coca crops which are the source of cocaine. 

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