The FARC‘s dissident 1st Front allegedly attacked a polling station in central Colombia on Sunday, the day the country holds a referendum on a peace deal with the country’s largest rebel group.
“There was an attack in which they launched an explosive artifact that fell far from the polling station,” Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas told press.
The attack took place in the township of Barranquillita in the central Guaviare region where the 1st front and other groups are active.
Following the attack, the Colombian army carried out a counter offensive and was able to declare the area near the polling station safe after a while.
Army officials reported no injuries in the skirmish, and said they “are providing all security guarantees and [they] are deployed all over the area to guarantee the normal electoral process.”
Officials also said that this is the first recorded incident of violence during the referendum.
The First Front said it would refuse to demobilize with the rest of the FARC and were expelled from the group in July. The unit controls the FARC’s criminal enterprises in one of Colombia’s most important coca growing regions and along on of the most lucrative drug trafficking routes in the country.
So far, the First Front is the only guerrilla unit of the FARC that has openly rejected to take part in the peace process that followed an agreement to end more than half a century of war on Monday.
The attack on the polling station is also the only incident of violence reported by the authorities during the historic vote.