Suspected rebels of the FARC severely an oil pipeline on at least eight different locations in the north of Colombia, allegedly in retaliation of the killing of a prominent rebel leader.
The National Army on Monday reported the death of alias “El Negro Eliecer”, the supposed ‘right hand man’ to FARC’s supreme leader, alias “Timochenko”, along with another FARC leader, supposedly provoking the rebel front into making a series of attacks on the oil pipelines across the northern department of Norte de Santander.
According to authorities, more than eight explosive charges were detonated along a pipeline in the municipalities of Convencion, Teorama and Tibu — all near the location where the army killed the rebel leader, causing a serious environmental situation as the spill is reportedly threatening to enter the major river of Catatumbo, which could lead to the oil spill entering Venezuela.
Oil company Petronorte, who own the damaged pipeline, asked for military back up to help control the spill and has moved to alert neighboring municipalities of the imminent environmental dangers.
If confirmed, this is the second oil spill attributed to the FARC in as many days, as oil giant Ecopetrol on Monday claimed the rebels were responsible for an oil spill in the southern, Putumayo department.
This was also the seventh reported FARC attack on oil infrastructures in Norte de Santander in 2013, where the region’s governor has reportedly claimed “the guerrilla is generating a climate of unease.”
The left wing group is currently involved in peace talks with the government in an attempt to bring to end the 50 years of conflict with the state, however the government has repeatedly rejected the possibility of a ceasefire, indicating that such a move would only benefit the rebel group.