An alleged FARC attack in northern Colombia caused a stop in oil production and left thousands of people without clean water, reported local media Sunday.
The explosives attack, which took place at the Caño Limon-Coveñas pipeline in the northeastern department of Boyaca, caused “grave environmental damage” as large amounts of oil poured into a nearby river, according to authorities.
People living in the municipalities near the attack were advised not to drink the water or go near the river.
Colombian state-owned company Ecepetrol said the pipeline transported some 80,000 barrels of crude oil a day before being shut down.
Authorities blamed left-wing rebel group, the FARC, for the attack.
On Sunday morning, Colombia’s energy minister said the oil spill had reached the eastern town of Arauca, where it had contaminated the local water supply.
Oil pipelines in Colombia have been hit by a total of 67 attacks during the first six months of 2012, a 300% increase over the same period in 2011, according to the Ministry of Defense.
The Boyaca region is considered to be under the influence of the FARC’s Middle Magdalena Bloc, a medium-sized FARC unit with some 800 armed members.