Latin America & Caribbean

Colombia's Farc blows up oil pipeline in Catatumbo

Colombian soldiers in Cauca, May 2015 Image copyright EPA
Image caption The Colombian army says it will continue fighting the rebels until they sign a peace accord

Colombia's largest rebel group, the Farc, has blown up a pipeline leaving at least 16,000 people without water, authorities say.

The attack happened in the municipality of Catatumbo, in northern Colombia.

A river was contaminated by oil that spilled out of the pipeline and the water supply had to be cut, the local authorities said.

Attacks on infrastructure have increased since the Farc suspended its unilateral ceasefire on 22 May.

In an unrelated incident, four military personnel were killed when they stepped on landmines in the southern region of Caqueta. Four others were injured.

The area had been mined by the Farc (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), the military said.

Bombing raids

The left-wing group has been engaged in peace talks with government negotiators since November 2012, aimed at ending more than 50 years of conflict.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption A similar attack on a pipeline contaminated Canaupi river in south-west Colombia on 12 June

There has been agreement on several points and the negotiations continue to be held in the Cuban capital, Havana.

But there's been an escalation in violence and an increase in attacks against security forces since the end of the ceasefire, says the BBC's Natalio Cosoy in Bogota.

The Farc, which had declared a unilateral ceasefire in December, ambushed and killed 11 soldiers in May.

President Juan Manuel Santos responded by ordering the resumption of bombing raids on rebel positions.

Last week the Farc brought down an electricity pylon in Caqueta and cut off power to almost half a million people, according to the military.

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