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Pipeline Blowup Columbia*


November 25, 2002

Attackers Blow Up Colombian Pipeline


Filed at 3:55 p.m. ET

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- Attackers dynamited Colombia's largest oil pipeline, causing a spill and forcing the brief evacuation of 280 people, officials said Monday.

The Central Colombian Pipeline, known by its Spanish acronym Ocensa, had to be shut down after the attack Sunday near the town of Aguazul, 100 miles northeast of Bogota, the company said. It was still closed early Monday.

It was the second attack this year on the line, which is run by BP Amoco and Colombia's state-run oil company.

Officials did not say who might have been responsible. But the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and the National Liberation Army, or ELN, have frequently attacked the Cano Limon, the country's second-largest pipeline.

The leftist rebels are waging a 38-year civil war against the government and illegal right-wing militias.

The United States is preparing to train an elite military unit to protect the Cano Limon from rebel attacks. Cano Limon carries oil for Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum. Colombia produces 590,000 barrels of oil a day, despite the regular attacks on pipelines.

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