TOLEDO – Colombian state oil company Ecopetrol reported on Thursday about a new bomb attack on the country’s main pipeline, which caused an oil spill but left no casualties.
The incident occurred late on Wednesday in a section of the Caño Limón-Coveñas pipeline in the rural area of the northwestern city of Toledo. According to the company, members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) reportedly placed several explosives on the site to detonate the pipeline.
For security reasons, a group of 20 Ecopetrol officials are hoping that the Colombian army to provide them security to repair the affected section, said the state to the AP.
#Atención | #Ecopetrol alerta sobre riesgo a comunidades por derrame de hidrocarburo en Toledo, Norte de Santander. La Empresa le pide a la comunidad alejarse del sitio del incidente causado por atentado por grupos al margen de la ley. pic.twitter.com/UGtzabkYM5
— Ecopetrol (@ECOPETROL_SA) September 12, 2019
“#Attention | #Ecopetrol community risk alert for oil spill in Toledo, Norte de Santander. The Company asks the community to move away from the site of the incident caused by attacks by groups outside the law,” the company said on Twitter.
Although Colombian authorities have blamed the attack on the ELN, there has so far not been a statement from the guerrilla group about the episode, the AP points out.
The 780-kilometer pipeline, which carries about 80,000 barrels of oil a day from Venezuela’s border oil fields to the Caribbean coast, has already suffered 32 attacks this year alone. Last year, it was the target of 89 attacks.
At the end of August, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza today accused Colombian President Iván Duque of acting against peace agreements signed three years ago with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
The Venezuelan opinion comes after the announcement of the resumption of armed struggle by former high-ranking guerrillas, who had fought a bloody struggle with Colombian government forces for more than five decades, from its founding in 1964 until 2017.
Former FARC number two Iván Márquez announced in a video the decision to abandon the historic peace agreement with the Colombian government and return to the armed struggle. In the recording, the group’s main negotiator in dialogues with the authorities in recent years suggests that he and the other former commanders of the movement would have been forced to choose this path.
According to the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry, the current culprit would be the current Colombian head of state . Still, Caracas says it is maintaining contacts with other countries involved to bring the parties to the conflict back to the negotiating table.