A roadside bomb that exploded close to a police checkpoint in the north of Colombia on Tuesday was “probably” detonated by FARC rebels whose unilateral ceasefire took effect on Monday, according to the National Police commander.
The bomb went off on Tuesday morning on the road between the towns of Valvidia and Yarumal in the northwestern Antioquia province at only yards from where traffic police were carrying out checks, Antioquia police commander Colonel Ramiro Riveros said.
The explosion left no damage or injuries.
Riveros told media that the device had been in place for at least four days and was equipped with the electronics necessary to detonate the charge with a cellphone.
National Police commander Rodolfo Palomino told press on Wednesday that “the most likely is that this attack has been carried out by the FARC’s 36th front” although he admitted that the hypothesis is based on the fact that “members of the 36th front traditionally carried out similar attacks.”
According to W Radio, the bomb was activated by men on a motorbike, which would rule out an accidental detonation.
If true, the roadside bomb would be a breach of the guerrilla group’s unilateral ceasefire that was not even 36 hours old when the explosive device went off.
The FARC initially called a ceasefire on December 20 last year, but suspended the truce on May 22 after 27 guerrillas were killed in an airstrike in the west of the country.
This airstrike was a direct consequence of a major breach of the rebel ceasefire in the southwest of Colombia where a FARC unit killed 11 soldiers in a surprise attack in another major drug trafficking corridor.
During the five months of the last unilateral ceasefire, guerrillas breached the truce on 12 occasions, but in all were able to reduce conflict-related violence with 90%, according to a conflict monitoring NGO.
FARC negotiator “Pastor Alape” later admitted that there had been some resistance within the guerrilla organization over the unilateral truce as some rebels felt they had become easy targets for the military that has been combating the FARC since its foundation in 1964.
The truce is meant to decrease levels of conflict violence while government and FARC delegates negotiate an end to Latin America’s longest running armed conflict.