Officials in southwest Colombia reported Saturday that 14 election officers were detained for several hours by rebels active in the area, according to national media. The officials, among them a police inspector and representatives of the National Registrar’s Office, were traveling by boat to the Solano municipality in the southern state of Caqueta to inspect Sunday’s congressional elections when they were stopped, allegedly by the FARC, Colombia’s oldest rebel group.
After spending several hours in rebel custody near the Coemani indigenous community, the officials were eventually released and were able to reach their destination in time to oversee the congressional elections Sunday, Caracol Radio reported.
State officials reportedly told the radio station that three voting booths in and around Solano had been relocated prior to the 8AM start time for voting, after the Colombian army detected land mines in the immediate vicinity.
Early Sunday, local police from the central state of Antioquia also attributed an attack on an army patrol unit to FARC guerrillas.
Last week, government officials called on both the FARC and ELN rebel groups to refrain from interfering in Sunday’s election process.
The FARC is currently engaged in ongoing peace talks with the Colombian government, but no ceasefire was declared prior to the start of negotiations in November 2012.