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Colombian Guerrillas Attack Oil Company Camp

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia guerrillas attacked a camp belonging to a contractor employed by oil company Ecopetrol in the remote El Catatumbo region, near the border with Venezuela. No one was injured, the officials say

The rebel attack occurred Sunday night at the camp near the remote hamlet of Petrolea. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC guerrillas burned the camp, where Ecopetrol operates an oil well.

Initial reports said the oil workers had been kidnapped, but Norte de Santander province police commander Col. Richard Portilla said "there is no one missing and no one was injured."

The FARC, Colombia's oldest and largest leftist guerrilla group, was founded in 1964, has an estimated 8,000 to 17,000 fighters and operates across a large swath of this Andean nation.

President Alvaro Uribe's administration has made fighting the FARC a top priority and has obtained billions in U.S. aid for counterinsurgency operations.

The FARC, whose leader is Alfonso Cano, suffered a series of setbacks last year.

FARC founder Manuel Marulanda, who was known as "Sureshot," died on March 26.

On March 1, Colombian forces staged a cross-border raid into Ecuador, killing FARC second-in-command Raul Reyes and setting off a regional diplomatic crisis.

The FARC is on both the U.S. and EU lists of terrorist groups. Drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping-for-ransom are the FARC's main means of financing its operations.

Author: Ksenia Kochneva