At least 32 killed in Colombia club blast
Vice president blames car bomb on FARC
Saturday, February 8, 2003 Posted: 10:55 PM EST (0355 GMT)
BOGOTA, Colombia (CNN) -- A car bomb that struck a social club in the Colombian capital claimed more victims Saturday, a result of what officials called "terrorism" at the hands of a leftist rebel group.
The death toll from the blast Friday night rose to 32 -- including six children -- and more than 200 people were confirmed wounded, Colombian officials said. Rescuers believe survivors are still trapped in the rubble.
Rescue operations ceased for the night and were scheduled to resume Sunday morning, when a Mass and silent march against terrorism are scheduled to pay tribute to the bombing victims. The march is set for 11 a.m. (11 a.m. EST).
Although no group has claimed responsibility, Vice President Francisco Santos said the blast was the work of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
Bogota Mayor Antanas Mockus said a large crater was discovered in the parking garage underneath the nightclub complex and that investigators believe it was caused when an explosives-laden car detonated Friday.
El Nogal is a multistory club complex of bars, restaurants and recreational facilities. Political leaders in the capital frequent the club; several diplomatic installations and embassies are also in the area.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe visited the site late Friday after holding an emergency security council meeting to discuss the situation.
Bush offers condolences
In a statement released by the White House, President Bush said, "I condemn this barbaric act of terrorism. I offer our deepest condolences to the Colombian families and friends of all who were murdered. We also hope and pray for the quick recovery of those that were injured."
Bush said the United States "will offer all appropriate assistance to the Colombian government in bringing to justice the murderers responsible for this act."
At the request of Colombian officials, explosion specialists from the United States are en route to Bogota to help with the investigation, according to the Colombian attorney general's office.
Uribe appealed to nations surrounding Colombia to seal their borders to the rebels.
"The country suffers once again a terrible web of terrorism by these groups," Uribe said.
The president also expressed his solidarity with the victims and their families.
Marxist rebels have recently expanded their 35-year-old war -- fought mostly in the countryside -- into Colombia's largest cities.
Uribe offered an $180,000 reward for information on who was behind the attack. He also asked the international community to support Colombia's war on terrorism.
-- Journalists Fernando Ramos and Adriana Vargas contributed to this report.