An alleged FARC attack has caused an oil spill in the south of country, Colombia’s nationally-run oil company Ecopetrol said Sunday.
According to a company press release, a rebel explosives attack on a pipeline in Orito, a remote municipality in the southern Putumayo department, caused an undefined quantity of crude oil to flow towards key rivers.
One employee was injured in the explosion.
Following the attack, Ecopetrol shut down the pipeline while local environmental authorities took charge of attempting to prevent the spilled oil to reach the Putumayo river, the most important river in the southern department.
Ecopetrol did not say how much oil was spilled.
According to local newspaper Diario del Sur, the 27th Jungle Brigade — specialized in counter-insurgency operations — entered the zone where the explosion took place to carry out an offensive against the FARC’s 48th front, which is held responsible for the alleged attack.
The military will also be providing security for workers trying to repair the pipeline and environmental workers trying to clean up the oil.
Over the past few years, rebel group FARC and ELN have stepped up their attacks against the oil and mining industry in an attempt to affect Colombia’s largest export industries.
According to Colombia Reports’ latest conflict monitor, the rebel groups have stepped down the number of attacks on oil and mining installations as both groups are seeking a peace dal with the government.
The FARC has been negotiating openly with the government since November last year. The government welcomed talks with ELN, but demanded the leftist guerrilla organization first release a Canadian miner who was kidnapped in the north of the country.
An increase in attacks last year forced the government to adjust its oil output growth expectations.
Both the FARC and the ELN have been fighting the Colombian state since 1964.
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