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The aftermath of a pipeline attack by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in December, before the ceasefire was initiated. Image via Twitter/@

Colombian rebels resume guerilla attacks on oil infrastructure

Colombia’s oil infrastructure is once again under attack by rebels as conflict resumed after a ceasefire established in December came to a screeching halt in May.

Bloomberg reports that rebels targeted the Orito-San Miguel and Orito-Churuyaca pipelines, both in the Putumayo province on the southwest border of the country. Two wells—the Loro 8 and Yurilla 1—also fell victim to damage at the hands of the guerilla attacks.

The attacks are reportedly the work of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), an organization which has been embroiled in conflict in the country for roughly half a century. FARC has a history of targeting oil and gas infrastructure, according to Bloomberg.

Attacking oil targets is less unpopular with the Colombian public than killing civilians and soldiers, and allows the guerrillas to demonstrate that they retain the ability to disrupt the economy, said Adam Isacson, a Colombia specialist at the Washington Office on Latin America.

In fact, FARC was at least partially responsible for Colombia’s decrease in production in 2005, when the country’s daily output actually dropped below 1 million barrels.

Ecopetrol SA, the state-controlled company that operates the damaged infrastructure, reported that the pipelines have been closed off and the two wells have ceased production. The two sites produced a collective 205 barrels of crude oil per day.

Since the ceasefire began last December, Colombia’s oil and gas infrastructure has suffered significantly less damage, as attacks decreased by 90 percent compared to the same period the year previous. However, an encounter with armed forced that left 26 Marxist militants dead brought the ceasefire to an end.

The last five decades of conflict have left roughly 220,000 people dead, according to the Financial Times. Despite renewed violence, though, FARC leaders and government officials are still in talks to return Colombia to a state of peace.

In related news, Officials: Militants blow up natural gas pipeline in Egypt.

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