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Bomb kills at least two in apparent assassination attempt in Colombia

Guillermo Legaria / AFP - Getty Images

Police officers inspect the remains of vehicles on May 15, 2012 after an explosion ripped through a crowded area of Bogota injuring at least 10 people according to the mayor's office. Witnesses said the blast appeared to have been from a bomb placed on a public bus, but officials could not immediately confirm the cause.

A bomb blast on a crowded street in Colombia Tuesday reportedly killed several people and injured 19 others.

NBC News said there were reports that the attack in northern Bogota was aimed at former Colombian Minister of Interior and Justice Fernando Londoño and that two of his bodyguards were among the dead.


Londoño was injured and was being treated at the Clinica del Country. Different reports put the death toll at between two and five.

The blast at 11 a.m. local time (12 p.m. ET) affected a total of seven vehicles, according to reports.

TV images from the scene showed a badly damaged SUV, a bus and other vehicles that were less damaged.  There were initial reports that the bomb was on the bus.

The video also showed several people lying on the street receiving treatment.

Minister walking, but stunned
President Juan Manuel Santos condemned the attack. "This government will not be put off course by these terrorist attacks," he said, according to Reuters. "This was an attack against former minister Fernando Londoño." 

The TV images showed Londoño being escorted, walking but stunned, from the SUV in a suit and tie with blood stains on part of his chest. One of his bodyguards was holding a gun.

"Fortunately, Dr. Londono is stable. He's in the hospital," Santos said, The Associated Press reported.

City health director Guillermo Jaramillo told Caracol radio that at least 19 people were hurt in Tuesday's blast.

He said he could not immediately confirm local media reports of several deaths.

The Colombian government has been battling the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, for five decades. The rebel group, however, has lost strength in recent years and they rarely carry out attacks in the capital. 

Although substantially weakened by a U.S.-funded military crackdown, the FARC remain a force to be reckoned with.

They stage attacks against police and military installations and set off car bombs in areas already ravaged by drug violence.

Edgar Zuniga Jr. of NBC News Atlanta, Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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