Four soldiers and two civilians - a woman and a boy - were wounded when the FARC guerrilla group detonated a house rigged with explosives as a military convoy passed by in San Vicente del Caguan, a city in the southern Colombian province of Caqueta, a military commander said.
The attack occurred Saturday morning on the road that leads from the San Vicente del Caguan airport to the Cazadores Battalion base on the city’s outskirts, army 12th Brigade commander Gen. Fabricio Cabrera told Efe.
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrillas detonated about 200 kilos (some 440 pounds) of explosives as the convoy approached, Cabrera said.
“The house bomb was made of cement and they had been preparing it since its construction, they even planted explosives in the foundation. They had it waiting for the right time until they detonated it as the military convoy was passing by,” Cabrera said.
The woman and the boy were walking on the road, which is surrounded by houses, about one kilometer (0.62 miles) from the downtown area.
The soldiers and the two wounded civilians were taken to a hospital in Florencia, the capital of Caqueta, and are out of danger, the general said.
The army vehicle hit by the blast was destroyed, the Juan Bosco school was damaged and the windows of the control tower at the airport were shattered, Cabrera said.
The damage to the control tower forced airport officials to restrict nighttime operations, Colombian Civil Aviation Agency director Santiago Castro said.
Airport officials, however, did not find any damage to the planes sitting on the landing strip at the time of the explosion.
The FARC, Colombia’s oldest and largest leftist guerrilla group, was founded in 1964, has an estimated 8,000 fighters and operates across a large swath of this Andean nation.
The Colombian government has made fighting the FARC a top priority and has obtained billions in U.S. aid for counterinsurgency operations.
The FARC has suffered a series of setbacks in recent years at the hands of the Colombian security forces.
Alfonso Cano, the FARC’s top leader, was killed on Nov. 4 in a military and police operation that the government hailed as the biggest blow to the FARC in its nearly 50-year history.
Cano, a 63-year-old intellectual who had entered the ranks of the FARC 30 years ago, was killed in in a remote area of the southwestern province of Cauca a few hours after fleeing a bombardment.
The FARC also suffered a series of blows in 2008, with the biggest coming in July of that year, when the Colombian army rescued a group of high-profile rebel-held captives: former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, U.S. military contractors Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell and Marc Gonsalves, and 11 other Colombian police officers and soldiers.
The FARC is on both the U.S. and EU lists of terrorist groups. Drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping-for-ransom are the FARC’s main means of financing its operations.