An alleged FARC attack against an oil installation in southern Colombia has left at least five oil workers dead.
According to the Colombian army the five oil workers were killed with explosives and small arms fire when FARC guerrillas from the 32nd Front attacked an oil well in the southern department of Putumayo.
“It was a demented attack against the civilian population. Units of the 25th Infantry Battalion have been sent with the objective of launching offensive operations against those responsible for this criminal action,” said the army.
Three more people were wounded in the attack.
The victims were contractors employed by Colombian state-owned oil company Ecopetrol — which last month overtook Brazil’s Petroleo Brasileiro SA as Latin America’s biggest company by market value — and its subsidiaries.
“Ecopetrol, Independence and Coltransur condemn the vile assassination of workers on the behalf of illegal armed groups, which violates international humanitarian law and asks for human life to be respected,” said Ecopetrol in a statement.
Puerto Asis, the municipality where the attack took place, is considered a strategic area for the FARC due to its proximity to the Ecuadorean border. Colombian authorities have accused the FARC operating there of launching attacks on the Colombian side of the border then crossing into Ecuador to avoid persecution by the army.
The attack came one day after Ecuador urged Colombia to send reinforcements to the border to secure the region.