A clash between FARC guerrillas and Colombian government forces last week stemmed from an insurgent “error,” the official leading peace negotiations with the rebels said Monday.
An unspecified number of FARC rebels were wounded in the confrontation Friday in central Colombia. They were members of a delegation that was to travel to peace talks being held in Havana.
The violence was seen as a discouraging sign as the government and rebels are thought to be close to ending five decades of civil war.
A FARC negotiator, Carlos Lozada, had asserted on Twitter the clash was “an attack on FARC delegates who were on their way to Havana.”
But on Monday, Humberto de la Calle, the government official leading the talks, put the exchange of gunfire down to a mistake by the FARC.
“An error was committed by the FARC, which transmitted wrong coordinates,” he said.
The FARC delegation “was in a different zone than the one expected,” he said.
De la Calle said the number two person in the FARC’s hierarchy, Ivan Marquez, “acknowledged that the error with the coordinates was the FARC’s responsibility.”
The FARC, which has about 7,000 members, signed a ceasefire and disarmament arrangement with the government last month at the peace talks in Cuba.
The government said it hoped to move on to a full peace deal within weeks.