Alleged ELN guerrillas killed seven policemen in an ambush in north-west Colombia, authorities say. Guerrilla activity and bad weather are complicating the elections in several regions of the country.
In the Norte de Santander department, bordering Venezuela, guerrillas burnt ballot boxes on their way to the town of San Calixto and destroyed a communications tower.
According to Registrar Carlos Ariel Sanchez, his office was forced to move 170 spare ballot boxes from rural areas around the town of San Calixto into the town to ensure its citizens were able to vote.
In the town of Teorama, also in the Norte de Santander department, fighting between factions of the FARC and ELN was reported as well as in the north of Cauca where guerrillas and armed forces are fighting in the area around Argelia, El Mango, El Plateado y Toribio. These last reports are not confirmed by authorities
In Hacari, in the same department, authorities seized a number of home-made mortar grenades.
However, state forces have prevented the disturbances disrupting the electoral process, and people in the area will be able to vote normally, Sanchez said.
In Catacumbo, Cesar, the FARC imposed a “transport strike,” prohibiting the population from traveling to polling stations. Armed forces are trying to convince citizens to vote, but are hindered by guerrilla violence.
Mother Nature appears to be the greatest threat to this year’s elections, with heavy rains preventing people from traveling normally in several parts of the Caribbean coast.