3rd LD: Death toll from Colombia car bomb climbs to 10

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BOGOTA, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from a car bomb blast outside a police academy in Colombia on Thursday morning has climbed to 10, officials said.

More than 50 cadets were reported injured as the impact of the explosion destroyed walls and shattered windows at the General Santander Police Academy in southern Bogota, mayor Enrique Penalosa said. Windows of more than 200 nearby homes also sustained damage, Colombia's RCN Radio reported.

Officials quickly identified the perpetrator as Jose Aldemar Rojas, saying that in the attack, he drove into the academy aboard his 1993 grey Nissan Patrol car that was loaded with 80 kg of pentolite, a composite high explosive.

Guards at the entrance to the academy detected something was wrong when registering the car and tried to stop it, but the driver sped through.

"The vehicle entered at full speed ... and crashed in front of the main auditorium," the Caracol News network reported online.

Rojas, 57, is believed to have died in the bombing.

"Colombia is saddened but will not bow down to violence," said Colombian President Ivan Duque, who canceled a security council meeting he was to attend in Quibdo, Choco, in order to return to Bogota.

"This demented terrorist act will not go unpunished," Duque added.

Colombia's FARC, a leftist guerrilla group-turned-political party, also condemned the car bombing, saying it was intended to undermine a negotiated solution to the country's armed conflicts.

FARC spokesman Pastor Alape Lascarro said via Twitter that "the attack on the General Santander school is a provocation against a political solution to the conflict. It seeks to put an end to the possibility of an agreement with the ELN (National Liberation Army), delegitimize social movements and benefit the hawkish sectors."

Duque's government took over from ex-president Juan Manuel Santos, who oversaw the disarmament of the FARC and had begun peace talks with the guerrilla group of the ELN. Enditem

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