Colombia struggles to restore power to port hit by rebels

AP News
Posted: Jun 02, 2015 7:33 PM

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Authorities struggled on Tuesday to restore power to a major Colombian port city more than 48 hours after a rebel attack on a transmission line plunged Buenaventura's 400,000 into the dark.

Guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia over the weekend bombed a tower holding power lines that supply electricity to the impoverished city. The attack, which President Juan Manuel Santos denounced as an act of "pure terrorism," was the biggest strike by the FARC since the half-century-old insurgency on May 22 ended the unilateral cease-fire it declared five months earlier to give space for peace talks with the government.

Authorities said Tuesday that heavy rains and land mines left by the guerrillas were making it hard for security forces to guard the area around the tower site 27 kilometers (17 miles) outside the city so work crews could move in and repair the damage.

Officials said it would probably be Friday before they could end the blackout, which is hurting businesses and slowing traffic at Colombia's biggest Pacific port.

The FARC's resumption of attacks comes as Colombia's military also intensifies its campaign against the rebels. In the past week, government forces have staged several raids on guerrilla camps, killing 38 rebels.