SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: April 27, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances | Other

Institution(s):National University of Colombia

Region & Country:Americas | Colombia

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On April 27, 2022, a group of roughly 30 armed individuals seized a National University building in Bogotá by force and began constructing explosives in that space, causing an evacuation of multiple campus buildings. Clashes with riot police also broke out nearby.

According to Semana, around noon, the group entered and seized a building housing the Human Sciences program. There, the group reportedly began handling explosive material in the classrooms. At the time of the seizure, people were inside the building conducting academic and administrative activities. The university evacuated that building along with several others. 

Simultaneous clashes between another group and members of ESMAD (Mobile Anti-Disturbances Squadron) broke out in the streets near the university. In total, four people were reportedly injured during these events, including one member of the armed group who suffered injuries to his hands and arms after he mishandled explosive material.

Scholars at Risk is concerned by entry onto and forced seizure of a university building by an armed group, as well as the use of the campus space to handle dangerous material. State authorities have a responsibility to take all reasonable steps to ensure the security of higher education communities and their members, including a responsibility to deter future attacks by investigating incidents and making every effort to hold perpetrators accountable. While civilians have a right to exercise their freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, they have a responsibility to refrain from engaging in violent activity.