Friday March 15, 2013
Blast derails Colombia coal train
BOGOTA: A train run by Colombia's largest coal exporter was bombed Thursday in an attack blamed on leftist FARC guerrillas.
The coal-laden train was heading to port when it was hit by a blast that derailed 17 wagons and spilled 17,000 tonnes of coal, said Cerrejon, which is owned in part by Switzerland's Xstrata, Britain's Anglo American and Australia's BHP Billiton.
The ore is shipped to Europe and Asia from the port.
The explosives were "apparently camouflaged for days in the rails and detonated by remote control as the train passed," said police commander Elber Velasco of northern La Guajira department where the attack took place.
First Army Division commander General Juan Bautista said the bombers used 20 or 25 kilograms (44 or 55 pounds) of ammonal, a TNT-based compound.
Preliminary investigations led security forces to conclude that the attack was carried out by militants with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the largest guerrilla group in the country with some 8,000 fighters.
The explosives were planted on Monday, just after the company reached a deal with workers ending a 32-day strike over demands for higher pay and safer working conditions.
Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos views mining as a key source of economic growth for the Andean nation, Latin America's largest coal producer. -AFP