January 9, 2019 / 10:54 PM / 5 months ago

Colombia's Cano Limon oil pipeline hit by bomb attacks: Ecopetrol

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombian state-run oil company Ecopetrol said on Wednesday there were two bomb attacks overnight on the Cano Limon pipeline in western Antioquia province, four days after a similar attack halted pumping.

The latest bomb attacks occurred in the rural areas of La Pesquera and Las Bancas. Last year, there were 89 attacks on the 485-mile (780-km) pipeline.

Although Ecopetrol did not name the group responsible, military officials say bombings are usually carried out by leftist rebels of the National Liberation Army (ELN), considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.

The regular bombings have not affected exports or production at the Cano Limon field, operated by Occidental Petroleum Corp, because crude has been moved through the nearby Bicentenario pipeline.

One of the bombings on Tuesday night caused a spillage that has since been contained, Ecopetrol said in a statement. On Friday, a bomb attack damaged the pipeline, spilling crude into two streams in Norte de Santander province.

The ELN has about 2,000 combatants and opposes multinational companies that its leaders accuse of seizing natural resources without benefiting Colombians.

Colombian President Ivan Duque has demanded the insurgent group free all of its hostages and stop criminal activities before he will consider restarting peace talks that began last year under his predecessor, Juan Manuel Santos.

Reporting by Helen Murphy; Editing by Peter Cooney

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