The Supervisory Judge No.47 of Bogotá formally arrested and charged 10 suspects of the Andino terrorist attack in the Colombian capital, and confirmed the existence of a new organized terrorist urban militia group.
Eight of the presumed guilty were charged Friday evening. One more suspect was arrested late Friday, and another person was captured Saturday.
The explosion that resulted in three dead in the Andino shopping center, including a French national and two Colombians, as well as nine injured, occurred Saturday 17 June, at 5:10 pm, on the eve of the celebration of Father’s Day in one of Bogotá’s most emblematic malls, located in a affluent sector of the city.
According to the judge, there is sufficient evidence against the suspects to link them to the Andino bomb explosion, and eight other attacks against different targets in the city since April 2015.
The suspects would be members of a terrorist urban militia group, the self-proclaimed Movimiento Revolucionario del Pueblo – MRP (People’s Revolutionary Movement), according to the prosecutor.
Blue prints of the shopping center, a detailed agenda as to how the terrorist action would be executed, step-by-step instructions on how to manufacture explosives, bomb making material, as well as video footage of some of the suspects in the Andino, and vicinity of the mall, scouting the area before the attack constitute part of the evidence the Attorney General’s office has in regards to the suspects.
The arrests and subsequent charges by the Fiscalía (Attorney General) was justified to prevent other further “possible actions, which attempt against the well-being and freedom of the public.”
The Fiscalía’s announcement comes a few days after FARC guerrilla ended a 53-year-war against the Colombian state Tuesday 27 June, and the same day Colombians commemorate the Day of The Fallen Soldier.
During the press conference Friday evening, the Vice Attorney General, María Paulina Riveros Espinosa, repudiated false accusations from sectors of the general public against French citizen Julie Huynh – killed in the explosion – as being an accomplice to the bombing. According to Riveros, these claims were made to “deter the direction of the investigation.”
The 10 suspects are being prosecuted for aggravated conspiracy, terrorism, aggravated homicide, and attempted aggravated homicide. One suspect was charged with carrying illicit arms and explosives, and two others for carrying false documents.
The identities of the suspects are: Boris Ernesto Rojas, alias ‘Boris’ or ‘Mao’; Andrés Mauricio Bohórquez Flores, alias ‘El Calvo’; Lizeth Johanna Rodríguez Zárate, alias ‘Japo’; Lina Vanessa Jiménez Numpaque, alias “Mestiza”; César Andrés Barrera Téllez, alias ‘Barbas’; Juan Camilo Pulido Rivera, alias ‘Visajes’; Alejandra Méndez Molano, alias ‘Aleja’; and, Natalia Trujillo Novoa alias ‘Natalia’; Cristian Santiago Sandoval Moreno and, Iván Ramírez León Rivera, alias ‘Taliban’.
Iván Ramírez León Rivera alias ‘Taliban’ was arrested Saturday, after a judge freed him last week for irregularities during his first capture.
The suspects have claimed their innocence since they were arrested last Saturday. In fact, several of them stated on camera, while escorted by police to face charges, that they were “false-positives.” Such claims created support groups in their defense, conformed by family members, friends, and followers of social media who sympathize with their predicament.
In a statement published in Cedema.org (Documentation Center for Armed Groups), MRP denied responsibility in the Andino bombing, as well as their connection to the ELN guerrilla group. The communiqué ends with the slogan: “The peace of the rich is not the peace of the people! Nor Santos Nor Uribe are options for the people!”
Those exact words were shouted by one of the suspects, while taken into custody before the judge last Saturday.
A media report by Caracol television claims MPR could count on 15 members, of which one woman, who is still at large, could be the head of this criminal organization.
Nine of the 10 arrests were announced during a press conference Friday evening, held by Vice Attorney General, María Paulina Riveros Espinosa, director of the National Police Jorge Hernando Nieto Rojas and Mayor of Bogotá Enrique Peñalosa.
Mayor Peñalosa invited citizens to “defeat terrorism by returning to the streets and leading a normal city life.”