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Motorcycle Bomb Kills 10 in Colombia; 50 Wounded - 2003-09-28

Suspected rebel militiamen detonated a motorcycle bomb in a nightclub district in western Colombia early this morning, killing 10 people and injuring nearly 50 others.

Authorities said the bomb was detonated by remote control at 3:30 in the morning, when men and women were streaming out of restaurants and discos in the town of Florencia. A local governor said two police officers and a 12-year-old boy were among the dead, and that a young girl had lost a leg. Although the bomb was not large, it exploded in a crowded area, and the impact was severe.

Military officials immediately blamed the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the country's largest Marxist guerrilla group. The FARC has a strong presence in the foothills surrounding Florencia, and kidnapped three American defense contractors in the region earlier this year.

Florencia is also on the fringe of a former rebel haven ceded to the FARC during peace talks that collapsed in 2002.

The FARC has seen its mobility restricted in recent months, due to stepped up military offensives, but it continues to carry out a deadly bombing campaign. The group has hit electricity pylons, military outposts and a prominent Bogota social club, and sometimes forces civilians to carry the explosives.