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Latino Daily News

Sunday March 25, 2012

Three Students Die Making ‘Potato’ Bombs in Colombia

Three Students Die Making ‘Potato’ Bombs in Colombia

Photo: Colombian Students Died Making Bombs

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Three Colombian university students, including a woman, died Sunday when the explosives they were handling went off at a house in Bogota, police and city officials said.

A fourth student and nine neighbors were wounded by the blast, which occurred at a house in the suburb of Suba, the Metropolitan Police and the city government said.

“Apparently, they were handling explosive devices ... and, in addition, drinking liquor,” Metropolitan Police chief Gen. Luis Eduardo Martinez said.

The victims ranged in age from 19 to 22, the police chief said.

The students were making “explosive potatoes,” as the small bombs used in student protests are known, Martinez said, adding that eight to 10 kilos (about 18 to 22 pounds) of explosives went off.

Police explosives specialists found instructions for making bombs at the house, the police chief said.

Propaganda from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrilla group and a supposed dissident group of the April 19 Movement, or M-19, a guerrilla group that demobilized about 20 years ago, were found in the house.

The victims were students at the School of Social Sciences of the Francisco Jose de Caldas District University, an institution run by the Bogota city government, Martinez said.

The explosion damaged or destroyed 51 dwellings and 12 vehicles, Bogota emergency services chief Javier Pava said.

Three of the dwellings have been evacuated, Pava said, adding that the affected buildings housed 160 people, including 51 children.