Speculation surrounds the evidence presented in the criminal proceedings against the suspects in the attack at the Andino Shopping Mall. The evidence presented thus far has not been convincing in the public eye, while the defense has deemed the process to be a “judicial false positive.”
The Colombian magazine Semana calls the suspects “a group of leftist anarchist extremists without political ideologies” directly implicating them in the attack, and saying that they belong to a cell of the People’s Revolutionary Movement (MRP).
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The Foundation for the Defense of the Innocent, however, has stated that this evidence was not presented as charges filed in a closed-door hearing. The evidence presented has not been deemed to be very convincing in implicating the suspects in the attack. Among the evidence collected by the authorities, more than 50 floppy disks are alleged to have been obtained through various forced entries. Would a terrorist group in 2017 use an outdated device with minimal storage capacity to carry out such an attack?
General Jorge Nieto, of the Colombian National Police, in statements made for Blu Radio, assured listeners that in order to obtain the necessary evidence they carried out an investigation during the past year and a half, and for this reason he could not speak about isolated incidents. If the evidence collected presents a hypothesis from the attorney general’s office, there is still no emphasis made on the security videos from the Andino Shopping Mall on the day of the attack.
According to Publimetro, the police have not been forthcoming with releasing information from the Andino, and the mall itself has been even less helpful. The news outlet states on their website that they have tried several times to contact the Andino with no reply.
“The photographs that the journal published with the following footnote: ‘A crony photographed one of the suspects during a trial run in which they used a fake jacket from a telephone company as camouflage. The same figure appears on security footage close to the site of some of the attacks where the bomb went off.’ was never presented in the hearing”, states the Foundation for the Defense of the Innocent.
According to Belisario Valbuena, Investigation and Criminal Profiling Specialist, “the modus operandi of an act of terrorism, although at times they can be planned and carried out by various people, in general is that it is more likely to succeed if as few people know about it as possible.”
He states that the fact that four or five people have been spotted at the places of the attack is suspicious. “These incidents are usually done by a lone wolf, or with a small amount of support that guarantees the survival of the attacker, because in other circumstances the organization wants the terrorist to die in the act. In that modus operandi it would make sense that only one person go into the bathroom to arm a bomb, that it was not a case of violence against women, that a woman herself did it, and that for some reason she failed and she died arming the bomb.”
From this journalist’s perspective the attack in the Andino Shopping Mall appears to be what is known as a smoke screen:
“I know about mind games, and the president is concerned about his image and his Nobel Peace Prize, and the French would catch wind of this incident and his public opinion would suffer.”
Doubts persist as to whether or not the evidence ties the suspects to the terrorist attack, and if in reality they are part of the MRP group. For now they are being detained in Modelo and Buen Pastor jails in Bogotá while they await criminal proceedings.