A car bomb that detonated Thursday in the city of Neiva in southern Colombia has left eight people wounded.

Police say they believe the bombing was a leftist rebel assassination attempt on the city's mayor, Cielo Gonzalez. No one has claimed responsibility, but Gonzalez has received numerous death threats in the past.

The area around Neiva has long been engulfed in violence between government forces and the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

The rebels have been fighting to overthrow the Colombian government for more than four decades.

Last Friday, President Alvaro Uribe said his government was ready for direct contact with the rebel group, which is holding some 60 people captive as political prisoners.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.