At least two people died and three others were wounded Tuesday when a car bomb exploded in a rural part of the strife-torn Colombian province of Cauca, authorities told Efe.

A spokesman for the armed forces said that the people killed in the apparent rebel attack were civilians.

But the secretary of the provincial government, Edith Milena Cabezas, said by telephone from Popayan, Cauca's capital, that an army captain was the only fatality.

The incident occurred at 12:45 p.m. near a military checkpoint in the municipality of Caloto, the armed forces spokesman said.

"The aim of the guerrillas was to park the car bomb in front of the Caloto police station," but when they encountered the military checkpoint they detonated it there, the spokesman said.

Both the spokesman and Cabezas attributed the bombing to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Cabezas also said that the incident occurred as fighting between FARC units and the army was under way in the vicinity of Caloto.

The attack took place amid an intensification of the armed conflict coinciding with the fourth phase of the peace negotiations between the government and the FARC, Colombia's largest insurgency.

The FARC is holding hostage two police officers and a soldier, while the smaller ELN rebel group is holding eight civilians captive, including five foreign nationals. EFE