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Colombia's largest oil pipeline attacked

30 july 2013, 11:08
0
©REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
©REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Colombia's largest oil pipeline was hit by an explosion causing a significant oil spill in an attack blamed on leftist guerrillas, AFP reports citing the army.

The 780-kilometer (485-mile) Limon-Covenas pipeline, operated by US oil firm Occidental Petroleum (Oxy), was attacked near the town of Saravena, in eastern Colombia, the regional army commander told reporters.

The oil spill has affected the local water source and vegetation, but the attack caused no injuries, he added, saying repair work has begun under military guard.

Saravena, like a number of towns near the border with Venezuela, has a strong presence of the leftist rebel group, the National Liberation Army, or the ELN.

The rebel group, Colombia's second largest with some 2,500 fighters, claims it aims to prevent the exploitation of the country's natural resources by foreign companies.

The ELN has expressed interest in holding peace talks with the government, along the lines of the negotiations underway in Havana with FARC, the country's largest leftist rebel group.

But the government has insisted that any talks would be conditioned on the group releasing hostages -- which would include a Canadian engineer held since January -- and abandoning the practice of kidnapping.

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