The incident occurred Wednesday in the northwestern village of Puerto Valdivia, the police commander in Antioquia province told reporters in Medellin, the provincial capital. The bomb, a cooking-gas cylinder packed with explosives and shrapnel, went off before the rebels could use it in an attack on the police outpost, Col. Jose Gerardo Acevedo said.
Puerto Valdivia lies on the Cauca river and the guerrillas planned to launch the projectile from the opposite bank of the river, he said. The dead belonged to the 36th Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, Acevedo said. The FARC has battled a succession of Colombian governments since the mid-1960s. Thought to number nearly 20,000 fighters a decade ago, the Andean nation's largest insurgency has an estimated strength today of around 8,000.