At least six police officers and two soldiers were wounded over the weekend when FARC guerrillas attacked a police station in a rural area outside Sardinata, a town in northeastern Colombia, officials said.

The 33rd Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrilla group staged the attack on the police station in Norte de Santander province, which is on the border with Venezuela.

The rebels attacked the police station around 5:20 a.m. on Sunday, the National Police operations chief in the area, Col. Raul Antonio Riaño, said.

Security forces personnel repelled the attack with the assistance of the air force, Riaño said.

Chief Jorge Eliecer Rubio, who is in command of the rural police station, and five other officers were wounded in the attack, the colonel said.

All of the wounded police officers were evacuated to Cucuta, the capital of Norte de Santander, Riaño said.

Two soldiers were also wounded in the guerrilla attack, the army's 30th Brigade, which is based in Cucuta, said.

The wounded soldiers were transported to a hospital in the city, the army said.

FARC guerrillas attacked the police station with homemade bombs and rifle fire, officials said.

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, whose leader is Alfonso Cano, has suffered a series of setbacks in recent years.

The FARC's military chief, Jorge Briceño Suarez, known as "Mono Jojoy," was killed in an airstrike on Sept. 23, 2010.

On July 2, 2008, the Colombian army rescued 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 had been trying to trade the 15 captives, along with 25 other "exchangeables," for hundreds of jailed guerrillas.

The rebels' most valuable bargaining chip was Betancourt, a dual Colombian-French citizen the FARC seized in February 2002 whose plight became a cause celebre in Europe.

FARC founder Manuel Marulanda, who was known as "Sureshot," died on March 26, 2008.

Three weeks earlier, Colombian forces staged a cross-border raid into Ecuador, killing FARC second-in-command Raul Reyes and setting off a regional diplomatic crisis.

Ivan Rios, a high-level FARC commander, was killed that same month by one of his own men, who cut off the guerrilla leader's hand and presented it to army troops, along with identification documents, as proof that the rebel chief was dead.

A succession of governments have battled Colombia's leftist insurgent groups since the mid-1960s.

In 1999, then-President Andres Pastrana allowed the creation of a Switzerland-sized "neutral" zone in the jungles of southern Colombia for peace talks with the FARC.

After several years of fitful and ultimately fruitless negotiations, Pastrana ordered the armed forces to retake the region in early 2002. But while the arrangement lasted, the FARC enjoyed free rein within the zone.

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.