Small bomb found in Argentina ahead of Uribe visit

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 11, 2012 10:33 AM
Small bomb found in Argentina ahead of Uribe visit

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentine police on Tuesday defused an explosive device hidden in a theater where former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe was scheduled to speak the next day, the investigating judge said.

Uribe, who cracked down on drug-running Marxist guerrillas as two-term president, was due to appear at a conference on Wednesday at the Gran Rex theater in downtown Buenos Aires.

The low-intensity bomb would have been detonated at around 4 p.m. local time on Wednesday, in the area of the theater where Uribe was due to attend a reception following his speech.

"It was a simple device but strong enough to cause the death of people nearby," federal judge Norberto Oyarbide, who is in charge of the investigation, told reporters.

The theater was evacuated and surrounded by police while the bomb was deactivated and the building searched.

A hero to many for making Colombia's cities and highways safer during his 2002-2010 rule, Uribe is also criticized for human rights violations committed by state security forces while he was in power and for links that some of his political allies had with right-wing paramilitary outlaws.

(Reporting by Hugh Bronstein and Magdalena Morales; Editing by Anthony Boadle)