Police held a vigil for their dead colleagues in the south-western town of Inza
Police held a vigil for their dead colleagues in the south-western town of Inza

Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC, has announced a 30-day-long ceasefire starting on December 15. The announcement came a day after five soldiers, one police officer and three civilians were killed by a FARC car bomb attack against a police station.

The FARC declared a similar ceasefire when peace talks began in Cuba a year ago. It was abandoned on January 20.

The Colombian government insists it will only stop fighting the rebels when a final peace accord is reached.

In their statement on Sunday, the rebels criticized the government for its unwillingness to agree to a truce.

“Soldiers and policemen shed their blood unnecessarily, while the perplexed general public watches this strange cocktail of dialogue and death with which the government sees the reconciliation through,” reads the document signed by the FARC’s high command.

Saturday’s Farc attack demolished a police station in the south-western state of Cauca.

Bombs were launched and a vehicle exploded just as the town market in Inza was about to open in the morning.

At least nine people died and dozens were injured, authorities said.

President Juan Manuel Santos promised to redouble efforts against the armed group.

“We have to keep on the offensive, not give them a minute’s rest, not a minute’s truce so they don’t have the capability of committing acts like [the attack],” Mr Santos said.

Despite the attack, negotiators from both sides continued with talks in Cuba on Sunday.

The government and the FARC have been in talks since November 2012 to end a 50-year war with an estimated 220,000 victims.

Both sides have so far partially agreed on land reform and on a political future for the left-wing group if a peace deal is reached.

The latest round of talks focuses on illicit drugs and drug trafficking.