Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Colombian prosecutors said Friday they have "full certainty" the guerrilla National Liberation Army was behind a car bomb attack at a police academy that killed 20 people.
The national prosecutor office said it has proof that the attack "was not an isolated decision, but corresponded to orders from superiors" in the group, also known by the initials ELN.
The office said it will file charges against the central command of the ELN, including Nicolas Rodriguez, Eliecer Chamorro, Israel Ramirez, Gustavo Giraldo, Rafael Sierra and Pedro Canas.
The author of the car bombing, who died in the attack, has been identified as Jose Rojas, "who was connected for over 33 years to the Domingo Lain column of the ELN" and more recently carried out urban guerrilla activities, the state prosecutor said Friday.
Identification was made after digital prints were obtained from a hand found in the debris. Officials said Rojas owned the car used in the attack. The prosecutor said it captured Ricardo Carvajal, who authorities say was behind the attack, and charged him with homicide and terrorism.
Reports said 20 people were killed and 68 were injured.
Colombian Peace Commissioner Miguel Ceballos said Friday "there will be no space for dialogue with the ELN," Caracol radio reported. The report said Rojas was born in Puerto Boyaca and rose to leadership in some guerrilla units in the 1990s and became an "instructor" for the group in 2011. Carvajal, 39, is the presumed intellectual author.
Colombian President Ivan Duque has declared three days of national mourning. The attack is the deadliest since 2003, when a terrorist bombing by another rebel group at a club in Bogota killed 36 people and injured 200.
"We will not rest until we capture and take to justice those terrorists," Duque said. "I have ordered to strengthen border controls and the entries and exits from cities."
For decades, the ELN has been one of the largest guerrilla armies in Colombia. It was founded in 1964, based on Marxism and liberation theology, a movement involving priests. Father Camilo Torres, who died in combat, is a revered figure of the group.
The ELN entered peace talks February 2017 with the government of Colombia, but said in September it found Duque's conditions to continue peace talks, including the release of all hostages, unacceptable. Duque was sworn into office in August.
The ELN is said to have had as many as 3,000 members, and members have been present in Colombia and Venezuela. The Colombian government signed a peace accord with the country's largest guerrilla group, the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC), in November 2016.
The FARC accord led to the disarming of some 8,000 guerrillas, though an estimated 1,000 dissidents were said to have continued fighting. The peace deal was controversial and a significant part of the Colombian population was not satisfied with the terms of the agreements.
A 2015 report by El Heraldo said the origins of armed conflicts in Colombia could be traced back to initial confrontations over land in the 1920s. Others link it to political-related violence that started in the 1950s, and some say drug trafficking in the 1980s was a significant influence.
A 2013 report by a special commission indicated about 220,000 people may have died in Colombia as a result of guerrilla wars in past decades.