A series of rebel attacks in Colombia’s northeastern Arauca department have caused an emergency situation in several municipalities, reported local media Tuesday.
In the Arauca municipalities of Saravena, Tame and Fortul, guerrillas have destroyed vehicles, attacked oil installations and clashed with security forces over the past few days.
On Tuesday morning, alleged leftist rebels incinerated a large transport truck next to a power plant in Tame, while guerrillas attacked military and police patrols with explosives and machine guns in Saravena and Fortul. There was no information regarding casualties as of Tuesday.
One of the attacked police patrols was protecting crucial oil infrastructure, reported local authorities. Newspaper El Colombiano attributed the attacks to the FARC, while newspaper El Universal wrote the smaller rebel group ELN was the likely perpetrator. Both rebel groups are considered to be active in the area.
On Tuesday, Arauca’s water supply was once again activated after being suspended following an alleged FARC attack against the Caño-Limon-Coveñas oil pipeline in the neighboring Boyaca department led to serious contamination of the local water supply.
The Arauca department, located near the Venezuelan border, has long been considered one of the epicenters of the Colombian armed conflict. According to Colombian NGO Nuevo Arco Iris, ELN and FARC guerrillas have largely replaced state institutions in large parts of the department.