Two bomb attacks caused crude oil from the Caño Limón pipeline to leak into the Cubugon River in the eastern department of Norte de Santander overnight (local time) on Thursday, September 12. The first attack took place near the town of Toledo, while the second explosion occurred in the Arauquita municipality (Arauca department). No casualties were immediately reported as a result of the blasts.
As of Thursday, no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, National Liberation Army (ELN) dissidents are active in the region and regularly attack oil infrastructure. Further attacks are possible in Norte de Santander and Arauca in the near term.
Peace talks between the government and the ELN, which has conducted an ongoing armed insurgency since the 1960s, were put on hold after President Ivan Duque assumed power in 2018. President Duque has previously said he will only resume negotiations with the ELN once the group ceases all attacks and releases all hostages.
Due to the presence of a number of armed groups - including organized crime groups, drug cartels, right-wing militias, and local gangs, in addition to the ELN - some Western governments advise against travel to various parts of the country, including the Venezuelan border region.
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