At least three women were killed and 11 injured in a blast in a restroom of one of the busiest shopping centres in the Colombian capital Bogotá on Saturday (17 June). Bogota's mayor Enrique Penalosa called the explosion a "cowardly terrorist attack".

President Juan Manuel Santos said: "The country should not panic because that is what terrorists want."

The National Liberation Army (ELN), the second largest rebel group in the country, has been accused of the attack. But ELN denied the accusation, saying those pointing fingers at them were trying to jeopardise the peace talks with the government.

President Santos, who visited the mall later on Saturday night, said in a statement that he did not want to speculate on who could be behind the attack, adding that an investigation was under way.

According to police, the explosive device was placed in a toilet bowl in the second-floor restroom of the shopping centre. The police said they were still trying to determine the nature of the device.

Penalosa said one of the victims was from France. Julie Huynh, 23, was working as a volunteer at a school in the south of the city for the past six months.

Ana María Gutiérrez, 27, and Lady Paola Jaimes Ovalle, 31, were taken to hospital, but were later declared dead.

Penalosa wrote on Twitter: "It hurts me deeply, the death of Ana María Gutiérrez, Lady Paola Jaimes Ovalle and Julie Huynh. My solidarity with their families."

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos asks people not to panic after a blast in a Bogota mall killed 3 women and injured 11 RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images