BOGOTA – Investigators are looking at three theories in connection with the bombing that killed three women, including a 23-year-old French citizen, in Bogota, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said on Sunday.
“The investigating team has three basic hypotheses and I’m not going to mention them so as not to harm the investigation,” said Santos at the end of a security council meeting in which the decision was made to offer a reward of 100 million pesos (about $33,600) for information leading to the apprehension of those responsible.
Santos said that he had asked the authorities to keep “informing the public but only with true, confirmed and appropriate information that does not affect the progress of the investigation.”
He said that the only entities authorized to provide “official information” are the Attorney General’s Office and the police leadership.
“All different information (coming from other sources), I’m asking them not to use it as official because in these situations, and as our experience has shown, people begin to speculate, they begin to circulate all sorts of versions that, often, are untrue and can even cause panic,” Santos said.
The bomb exploded on Saturday afternoon in one of the ladies’ restrooms on the second floor of the Andino mall, one of Bogota’s most exclusive shopping facilities located in the well-to-do El Chico neighborhood.
According to the information presented on Saturday evening by Bogota Mayor Enrique Peñalosa, the blast killed 23-year-old Julie Huynh, a French citizen, who had been working for the past six months as a volunteer at a high school in the Colombian capital.
The other people killed were identified as Ana Maria Gutierrez, 27, and Lady Paola Jaimes, 31, and Huynh’s mother – Nathalie Nadine Veronique Levrand, 48 – is among the injured.
Regarding the reward, the president said that it will be provided “to any person who gives us information that can help capture those responsible.”
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Santos cancelled his trip – scheduled to begin on Monday – to Portugal to be able to stay closely informed about the investigation into the attack, saying that “the first days after an attack ... are essential ... to getting the investigation going and achieving results.”
Santos did say, however, that he will travel to France, where he will meet with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, “to move forward on our agenda of cooperation.”