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Guerrillas Bomb Oil Pipeline, 15,000 Barrels Spilled

January 23, 1991

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) _ Leftist rebels bombed the country’s main oil pipeline Wednesday, causing about 15,000 barrels of crude petroleum to spill into local rivers, said the state-run oil company Ecopetrol.

No casualties were reported.

″The blast caused tremendous ecological damage to nearby rivers. It’ll take Ecopetrol workers at least a month to clean this mess up,″ a company spokesman said in an interview.

He said the oil contaminated thousands of acres of local rice farms.

The 500-mile Cano Limon pipeline in northern Colombia was attacked by guerrillas of the pro-Cuban National Liberation Army, the Ecopetrol spokesman said.

The rebel group has blasted the pipeline about 150 times since 1986. It says it is trying to force the government to nationalize Colombia’s petroleum industry.

The bombs have forced the country to cut daily petroleum exports from 200,000 to 100,000 barrels, according to local press reports.

The insurgent group has joined forces with another rebel organization, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, in an unprecedented offensive. About 160 soldiers, policemen and rebels have died in fighting during the past three weeks.

The government is preparing to sign peace accords with three other smaller guerrilla groups.

Update hourly