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Colombia: Oil spill by rebels not as bad as feared

A soldier stands along a creek contaminated with crude oil in Puerto Asis, in Colombia's southwestern state of Putumayo, Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Authorities are trying to control an oil spill that, according to the Minister of Mining, Amylkar Acosta, was caused when rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, forced truck drivers to dump nearly four thousand barrels of crude when they intercepted a convoy of 19 trucks carrying oil near the border with Ecuador on July 1. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
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PUERTO ASIS, Colombia (AP) -- Colombian officials say an oil spill caused by rebels in the country's southwest may not have been as big as originally thought nor has it caused significant environmental damage.

Army commander Gen. Jaime Lasprilla says oil did not get into the Guamuez River after the incident last week in the Puerto Asis municipality, about 515 miles (830 kilometers) southwest of Bogota. Some creeks were contaminated.

Guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia stopped 19 tanker trucks and forced the drivers to dump an estimated 4,000 barrels of crude oil. Officials initially feared that water services for 100,000 people might be affected.

During a tour Tuesday, journalists found that most of the affected area had been cleaned up.

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