Guerrilla activities in Tolima aimed at interfering with the October 1997 elections, including attacks or abductions of electoral officers [COL29852.E]

The information that follows was provided by the Tolima Departmental Delegation of the Electoral Directorate of Colombia during a 12 August 1998 telephone interview.

The guerrillas prevented effective voting in a number of rural localities (corregimientos) in various districts (distritos) of the Department of Tolima during the 26 October 1997 elections. Typically, the guerrillas attacked or intercepted electoral officials, seized the voting documents before or after the voting, and burned them.

The following is a list of districts and the specific localities where such incidents took place (please note that the spelling in some names might be imprecise):

Icononso: Paticuinde, Mundo Nuevo;

Ataco: Alcilla, Canoas;

Chaparral: La Marina, La Virginia, San Jose de las Hermozas;

Ortega: La Balsa, Horizonte, Andes;

Purificacion: Villa Esperanza;

Rio Blanco: Gaitan;

Villa Hermoza: Platanillal.

In addition to the above, a female temporary employee of the Electoral Directorate, a supernumeraria, was abducted by guerrillas for approximately one day in the rural corregimiento of Malabar, in Venadillo municipality.

In addition to the above, one news report states that two bombs were detonated at the Palo Cabildo municipality in northern Tolima during the elections (Radio Cadena Nacional 26 Oct. 1997)

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Dirección Electoral de Colombia, Delegación Departamental del Tolima. 12 August 1998. Telephone interview with representative.

Radio Cadena Nacional [Bogota, in Spanish]. 26 October 1997. "Colombia: Station Reporters Note Electoral Situation in Departments." (FBIS-TOT-97-299 26 Oct. 1997/WNC)