Page last updated at 01:34 GMT, Sunday, 25 May 2008 02:34 UK

Earthquake rocks central Colombia

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A 5.7 earthquake has killed at least six people in central Colombia, causing landslides and shaking buildings.

Its epicentre was located about 55km (34 miles) from the capital Bogota, near the town of Villavicencio, the US Geological Survey reports.

Bogota residents ran outside fearing buildings would fall, then stood around dazed in the rain, correspondents say.

The victims are reported to have been killed when rocks from a landslide hit the cars they were travelling in.


Scenes of damage caused by the earthquake

At least 15 houses and a church were reported to have been damaged, says the Efe news agency.

Cololmbian President Alvaro Uribe said the six people, including two children, were killed on the road between Bogota and Villavicencio.

They were travelling in two cars that were hit by landslides, he told reporters.

At least eight other people were reported injured.


Bogota Mayor Samuel Moreno told local radio some buildings in the city were slightly damaged.

"The report we have so far is that it was strong and some structures have suffered damage," he said.

One government building in Bogota was evacuated after the quake sent a shower of bricks tumbling off one of its walls, Reuters adds.

In 1999, a earthquake measuring six struck Colombia's coffee-growing region, killing about 1,000 people.

The last comparable death toll from a Colombian quake prior to that was in 1875 when about 1,000 people died near Cucuta.

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