BOGOTA, Colombia – “The attack existed, it is a fact and a reality, it would be the fourteenth attack on the pipeline so far this year and presumably it is the ELN, which is why we have never believed their ceasefire,” Botero said, according to published statements through the website of the local radio station Blu Radio.
He also said that the authorities are inspecting the area to prevent further attacks by the rebel group or other illegal armed movements.
According to the state oil company Ecopetrol, the attack occurred in the early hours of April 15 in the rural area of Tibú municipality (Norte de Santander, northeast), on the border with Venezuela, which led to the oil spill in the Tibucito river and in Pozo Azul, places of tourist attraction in the region.
After the attack, Ecopetrol suggested that the inhabitants of Tibú refrain from consuming water from these water sources.
The ELN announced on April 11 a unilateral ceasefire throughout Colombia from April 14 to April 21 as a truce for the religious holidays of Holy Week.
The ELN guerrillas initiated public peace dialogues with the government of Juan Manuel Santos (2010-2018) in February 2017, but they were suspended on August 7, when Iván Duque became president, who demanded that the rebel group frees all the hostages and the cessation of hostilities as a condition for resuming negotiations.
After an attack in January against the General Santander Cadet School in Bogotá, which left 22 students dead and 66 more wounded, the government canceled the dialogues with that guerrilla group unilaterally.
Meanwhile, on Monday, the National Police of Spain arrested one of the communications officers of the Colombian armed group ELN (National Liberation Army) in Madrid.
“A person has been arrested as an administrator of the Spanish infrastructure of official communication, used by the terrorists to vindicate the attack perpetrated in January against the General Santander Cadet Academy in Bogotá, where 22 people died,” the National Police informed through of a statement.
According to the information offered by the authorities, the detainee is of Spanish nationality and is charged with a terrorist offense, for managing an “infrastructure of propaganda and dissemination of terrorist content.”
In addition to the detention, the National Police conducted searches at the prisoner’s home and at the headquarters of an association administered by him.
According to the investigation conducted by the Spanish agents, the detainee used the server of his association to “host the official website of the terrorist organization” and to house “other official pages used by the National Liberation Army.”
The operation that allowed the arrest was developed in collaboration with the intelligence management of the Colombian National Police.
The investigation was conducted under the supervision of the Central Court of Instruction Number 6 and the coordination of the Prosecutor’s Office of the National Court of Spain.