Leftist Rebels Bomb Oil Pipeline in Colombia, Kill Mayor
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) _ Leftist rebels blew up a section of Colombia’s main oil pipeline and assassinated a town mayor in a rich oil region, officials said Monday.
Authorities blamed the National Liberation Army for the bombing Saturday of a section of the 500-mile, Cano-Limon pipeline near El Tarra village, 260 miles northeast of Bogota.
The bombing, the 38th guerrilla attack on the pipeline this year, spilled about 55,000 gallons of crude, the state oil company, Ecopetrol, said. Most of the oil burned, it said.
The National Liberation Army has been attacking Colombia’s oil industry since 1986 in an effort to force the government to stop sharing oil profits with private and foreign interests.
Police also blamed the group for the slaying Sunday of the mayor of Aguazul, 110 miles east of Bogota. The town is in a region of Casanare state where oil reserves estimated at 2 billion barrels were recently discovered.
Town officials quoted by the newspaper EL Espectador said the insurgents killed Mayor Juan Urrego after accusing him of misusing public funds.
In recent months the government has deployed thousands of soldiers in Casanare to protect foreign oil companies - British Petroleum, U.S.-based Triton and France’s Total - from rebel attacks.