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Rebel attack in Colombia leaves 300,000 in the dark

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombian officials are blaming rebels for an attack on the country’s energy infrastructure that left hundreds of thousands of people without power.

President Juan Manuel Santos said Thursday that the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia had blown up an energy pylon and blacked out much of the southern region of Caqueta Wednesday night.

The blackout affected more than 300,000 people and had not been fully resolved as of midday. Santos called it an irrational terrorist act that was counter to the ongoing peace process.

The bombing is the latest in a series of recent attacks on Colombian infrastructure, including roads and a water plant.

Earlier this month, a similar attack plunged an impoverished city into the dark for more than two days. And this week, the FARC forced several oil tanker drivers in the oil-producing region of Puerto Asis to dump their loads of crude, creating an environmental hazard.

In May, the FARC ended the unilateral cease-fire it declared five months earlier to give space for peace talks with the government.

Rebel groups have been meeting in Cuba with representatives of the Colombian government for the past two years for peace talks aimed at ending the half-century old conflict. The Havana talks have continued apparently unaffected by the escalations back in Colombia.

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