17/05/2001
Car Bomb in Parque Lleras

Café Orleans, which had only recently opened its doors, was the business establishment with the most material damage. El Turkish also suffered estimated losses of COP 4 million. Photograph: El Colombiano - Manuel Saldarriaga.

After the attack, the Cuerpo Élite, comprised of members of the police, army and Administrative Department of Security (DAS, for the Spanish original), started to operate in Medellín with the aim to find the perpetrators of the attack. Photograph: El Mundo.

This attack, which generated panic in Medellín, occurred after a period of relative peace, when it seemed like the city had overcome the violent years in which residents feared going out on the streets. Photograph: El Mundo.

At 10 pm on May 17, 2001, a guerilla faction detonated a car bomb at Parque Lleras in Medellín in response to the persecution of them by the paramilitary groups.

The explosion of the vehicle, which was parked in front of Café Orleans, killed eight people and injured 145. The El Colombiano newspaper indicated that at the time, it had been loaded with 60 kg of dynamite. However, in 2014, Semana magazine confirmed that it was loaded with 20 kg of Indugel explosives.

The Killers

The investigations concluded that it was a crime perpetrated by La Terraza gang to take revenge for the attacks the paramilitary groups executed, after discovering a plot to murder their boss, Carlos Castaño.

After a special security council meeting in Medellín, President of Colombia Andrés Pastrana traveled to the affected area and announced that the government would invest around COP 5,000 million in cameras and other equipment to reinforce security. He also reported that they would create three lines of soft loans for the owners of the affected housing and business establishments for working capital, repairs, and to buy and replace equipment.

Henry Serna Moscoso, one of the leaders of La Terraza gang, was arrested in 2014 and sentenced to 40 years in prison for being the mastermind of the attack.

Alias “El Gato”, a member of La Terraza, who had planted the car bomb, was kidnapped in Envigado in the middle of 2003 and later killed on the order of Diego Fernando Murillo Bejarano, alias “Don Berna”, the former commander of the Bloque Cacique Nutibara paramilitary group.

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