Bogota, Colombia — Exito, the Colombian government agency that manages the country’s largest natural gas fields, has announced that it will be closing the city of 1 million people as of March 31.
The announcement comes as the country struggles with a chronic and growing pollution problem, which has been linked to the closure of more than 300,000 miles of natural gas pipelines.
The agency said it will not be able “to continue to operate” as of April 1, 2019, in the towns of Aragua, San Antonio, Caracas, Córdoba, and Quito.
The agency said the closure will affect up to 50,000 residents in the remaining areas that have not been affected by the closure.
Bogota has been the site of a major battle between government forces and rebels, who have been battling to gain control of the country for the past 15 years.
The Colombian government has accused rebels of stealing oil from the fields, but the rebels have repeatedly denied the charges.
The battle between the government and rebels has cost more than 70,000 lives and left at least 4 million people homeless.
Since 2014, the number of Colombian deaths from the coronavirus has nearly doubled.