Car bomb wounds 19 in town in Colombia

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A car bomb has exploded in a town in western Colombia, wounding 19 people amid an increase in violence in some of the country's rural regions.

Officials say the blast went off on Friday in Corinto, a town of 30,000 people that has long been troubled by fighting between the Colombian army and rebel groups that traffic cocaine and hide in the nearby Andes Mountains.

Witnesses said the car bomb exploded near Corinto's municipal government building and within walking distance of a police station.

The town's mayor was not in the building at the time but three municipal employees were in a critical condition.

Despite a peace deal in 2016 between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebels, violence continues to affect some rural pockets of Colombia where splinter groups that did not join the peace deal and drug traffickers are fighting over cocaine routes and other resources abandoned by the FARC.

Colombia's defence minister said he was heading to the region for a meeting with military and police officials.

"We will not stop fighting terrorism, wherever we find it," President Ivan Duque wrote on his Twitter account.