April 17, 2019 / 3:54 AM / in 6 days

Colombia's Ecopetrol says working to contain spills from pipeline attacks

FILE PHOTO: A storage tank is seen at Ecopetrol's Castilla oil rig platform, in Castilla La Nueva, Colombia June 26, 2018. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia’s state-run oil company Ecopetrol said on Tuesday it is working to contain two oil spills from its Cano Limon pipeline, which was damaged by bomb attacks on the weekend.

Crude oil has spilled into the Tibu and Tibucito rivers from the damaged pipeline in Tibu municipality in eastern Norte de Santander province, Ecopetrol said in a statement.

Heavy rains in the area destroyed some barriers meant to contain the spills, Ecopetrol said, adding that the barriers had to be reinstalled.

The bombings were “presumably” carried out by the leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) rebel group, Defense Minister Guillermo Botero said, despite the ELN’s Easter ceasefire that began on Sunday.

The 485-mile (780-km) Cano Limon pipeline was the target of 80 bomb attacks in 2018 and kept offline for most of the year. There have been around 20 attacks on Colombian pipelines so far in 2019.

Although Ecopetrol did not name the group responsible for the bombings, the ELN, considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, regularly attacks pipelines.

Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; editing by Darren Schuettler

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