August 3, 2011 / 5:51 PM / 8 years ago

Colombia bomb kills oil worker, injures 6 people

BOGOTA (Reuters) - A roadside bomb killed one oil worker and wounded six people in an attack in a violent southern province of Colombia, the country’s vice president said Wednesday.

Colombia has been battling leftist rebels for nearly five decades and while security has improved drastically in recent years, illegal armed groups continue to stage bombings, hit-and-run attacks and other violence.

Vice President Angelino Garzon said the bomb in the southern Caqueta region killed one oil worker wounded six others, including a passer-by.

“This attack ... is a true crime against humanity,” Garzon said in a statement.

Police said the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia activated the roadside bomb when a vehicle crossed a river in the area. The vehicle was headed to an oil exploration field and was carrying workers for a seismic company.

The FARC is at its weakest in decades after the deaths of top commanders and a string of desertions prompted by government bounties and improved military intelligence and training.

However, the leftist rebels remain strong in some areas, helped in part by their involvement in the lucrative cocaine trade and alliances with other armed groups.

In June, they kidnapped three Chinese oil workers in Caqueta. Later that month, FARC hit a checkpoint in the west, wounding two soldiers, and they are blamed for an explosion that killed two people and injured eight more.

The overall decline in violence has attracted billions of dollars in foreign investment to Colombia’s mining and oil sectors over the last five years, which has allowed the country to boost crude and coal output to historic highs.

However, the security situation has worsened this year in the provinces of Cauca, Caqueta, Norte de Santander, Arauca and Antioquia, according to the Colombian think-tank Corporacion Nuevo Arco Iris.

Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta and Monica Garcia; Writing by Jack Kimball and Eduardo Garcia

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