Colombia’s largest rebel group allegedly planted a bomb at a hydroelectric construction project on the day of the country’s presidential elections, reported national media Sunday.
|Colombia’s 2014 elections|
The attempted attack, attributed to the FARC’s 36th Front, was not in the vicinity of any polling stations, and no property damage or injuries were reported.
If the allegations are true, the attempt would violate a unilateral ceasefire announced by country’s two largest rebel groups last week, which officially went into effect Wednesday.
The ceasefire, declared by the FARC and the ELN, was ostensibly meant as a goodwill gesture by the rebel groups ahead of Colombia’s May 25 presidential elections.
“We [the leaders] order all of our units to cease any offensive military action against the armed forces or economic infrastructure of Colombia,” said FARC Commander Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, alias “Timochenko,” in a statement released Wednesday. The unilateral ceasefire, which was not reciprocated on the part of the government, was scheduled to last from May 20 to May 28.
This is not the first time the FARC in particular has declared a unilateral ceasefire, and if the allegations are true, it would not be the first time they have been unable to keep their promise.
A policemen was killed in an alleged guerrilla attack Wednesday, the first day of the announced unilateral rebel ceasefire.
Most recently, the FARC announced it would suspend all military offensives for a month, starting last December 15.
Independent reports subsequently revealed that while incidents of rebel violence did diminish significantly during the “good will” period, they did not cease entirely.
The government of incumbent president Juan Manuel Santos has been engaged in peace negotiations with the FARC since November 2012.
The elections will play a significant role in determining the fate of the peace talks, since Santo’s main rival, hardliner Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, has consistently opposed the negotiations.
The latest statistics indicate that no candidate will reach an absolute majority in next Sunday’s contest, and that the country will therefore see to a second round runoff between the two leading candidates.
The most recent poll, released by Datexco just before the cut off — according to law, no polls can be released a week leading up to the elections — showed a narrowing gap between the incumbent, Santos, and Zuluaga, with a wide range separating the frontrunners from the rest of the field.
The site of Sunday’s alleged FARC attack, the “Hidroituango” hydroelectric project, has been highly controversial, as it has led to widespread displacements in the surrounding areas.
The bomb was reportedly disarmed, and no persons were injured as a result.