Tuesday June 20, 2017
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People light candles as a tribute to victims after an explosive device detonated in a restroom at the Andino shopping center on Saturday, in Bogota, Colombia June 18, 2017. — Reuters pic People light candles as a tribute to victims after an explosive device detonated in a restroom at the Andino shopping center on Saturday, in Bogota, Colombia June 18, 2017. — Reuters pic

BOGOTA, June 20 — Dozens paid tribute yesterday to the young Frenchwoman and two Colombians killed in a weekend bombing at a mall in Bogota that has thrown a shadow over the country’s peace process.

The victims, all female, died when a device exploded in a ladies’ bathroom in the capital’s crowded Andino shopping centre.

Julie Huynh, 23, had been in Colombia finishing up a stint teaching students who were among the country’s poorest victims of violence.

Her mother was also injured in the bombing on Saturday, having been in Bogota visiting her daughter.

“She was an extraordinary person who, without even knowing it, deeply changed us,” one of Huynh’s friends, named Mathilde, said outside the French embassy.

Holding a bright sunflower, Melanie Rousseau, a Frenchwoman who has lived in Colombia for a decade, alluded to the country’s peace efforts, saying she hoped the deaths “would not be in vain”.

President Juan Manuel Santos called the incident a terrorist attack, but no group has claimed responsibility and authorities are searching for the culprits.

Rebel groups condemned the incident and said it was an attempt to undermine their efforts with the government to end Colombia’s half-century civil conflict.

The country’s biggest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), is scheduled to complete a disarmament process by today.

The last active rebel force, the National Liberation Army (ELN), meanwhile, has started talks with the government, though confrontations with state forces have been continuing. — AFP 

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