BOGOTA, June 22 (Reuters) - Crude oil has spilled into another Colombian river, state-run oil company Ecopetrol said on Monday, in the latest of a slew of bomb attacks on the company’s pipelines that the army has blamed on leftist rebel groups.
The company said it had suspended pumping of crude through the 300-km (186-mile) Transandino pipeline after a bomb ruptured a stretch of the line near the Pacific Coast, causing crude to gush into a river at high pressure.
Ecopetrol said it has deployed booms to try to recover the crude and prevent it reaching an inlet downstream from which water supplies are drawn.
An attack on the same pipeline last week resulted in large amounts of crude being spilled into a river and causing what Ecopetrol’s chief executive described as an “environmental tragedy”. The army blamed the attack on Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC.
Rebels have intensified pipeline bombings since calling off a unilateral ceasefire a month ago, and the latest attacks have been more damaging than usual as they have taken place near rivers. Rebels have also forced truck drivers to pour their oil cargoes onto roads.
Ecopetrol did not attribute blame for Sunday’s attack but the FARC has a heavy presence in the southwestern region where it occurred.
Bomb attacks on pipelines are frequent in Colombia, where the FARC and the smaller ELN rebel group have been fighting the government for 51 years.
Ecopetrol provided a link to a video showing the crude flowing from the pipeline: youtu.be/_lxKHv9QJew (Reporting by Peter Murphy; Editing by Peter Galloway)