2 blasts hit Colombian capital, 10 hurt

2 blasts hit Colombian capital, 10 hurt
PHOTO: Reuters

BOGOTA - At least 10 people were hurt when two minor blasts rattled the Colombian capital Bogota on Thursday, officials said, putting authorities on alert amid an uptick in violence.

The first blast hit in the financial heart of Bogota at about 3:45 pm (2045 GMT), the fire department said on Twitter, reporting a second explosion moments later at an industrial area.

None of the 10 were badly injured but Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas branded the blasts "terrorist acts, no doubt." The explosion in the financial district smashed windows and caused panic, an AFP reporter said.

"It made a very loud noise," said Argemiro Sanchez, 52, a street vendor.

The injured were rushed to a hospital and President Juan Manuel Santos was to return from a regional summit in Peru "to evaluate security measures," said Interior Minister Juan Fernando Cristo.

Villegas announced a reward of 100 million pesos (about S$51,000) for information leading to the capture of those responsible.

Between February and March at least six minor blasts went off in different parts of the Colombian capital, leaving a dozen injured.

The explosions were blamed on a criminal gang that operated for the National Liberation Army (ELN), Colombia's second-largest guerrilla group and currently in preliminary peace talks with the government.

Colombia is facing an increase in attacks by Marxist FARC rebels on infrastructure and government forces, though they have mainly taken place in more rural areas.

More than 200,000 people have been killed in Colombia's civil conflict since FARC was launched in 1964.

Peace talks between the government and FARC - Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - have advanced on a number of major issues, but a final accord remains elusive.

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