Bogota: Five people were killed and four wounded after Colombian FARC guerrillas ambushed and attempted to kidnap a candidate for a governor`s post in a southern province, authorities said on Sunday.
The attack underscored the vulnerability of politicians in rural Colombia despite the progress made by President Alvaro Uribe`s US-backed security drive to defeat Latin America`s oldest-surviving leftist insurgency.
Police said rebels attacked a convoy transporting Jose Alberto Perez, a Conservative Party candidate for the Guaviare province governorship in a special February 28 election organised after the previous governor was forced to step down.
Perez was wounded when rebels opened fire in a roadside ambush that killed four police bodyguards and another person, police said.
The FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, is at its weakest in decades after Uribe`s campaign to force the rebels back into jungles and mountains. But the guerrilla group remains a threat in rural areas, aided by funds from their involvement in cocaine trafficking and extortion.
Sunday`s attack came as Colombia prepares for Legislative Elections in March and a presidential vote in May with Uribe still uncertain about whether he will run for a consecutive third term in the world`s No 3 coffee exporting nation.
In December, the FARC kidnapped and killed a governor of Caqueta State in a rare urban assault. Luis Cuellar was dragged from his home, bundled into a waiting jeep and later found with his throat cut.