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Escalating attacks in northern B.C. remain unsolved

Perpetrators of a February attack near Houston that caused $8 million in damage to a pipeline camp, and an October arson attack on emergency vehicles in Smithers, remain a mystery

Escalating attacks in northeast B.C., including an armed attack on a pipeline work camp and an October arson that destroyed emergency vehicles, remain a mystery with the RCMP making no arrests and releasing scant information.

The crimes include a February 17 attack on a Coastal GasLink work camp near Houston. B.C . Coastal GasLink (CGL)  reported that 20 masked individuals wearing camouflage surrounded workers at the site near the Marten Forest Service Road, swinging axes at vehicles.  

The co-ordinated onslaught took place just after midnight at the remote site.

According to CGL, workers fled the camp after flare guns were fired at them. The company said the individuals cut locks to access the construction site, vandalizing heavy equipment and cutting hydraulic and fuel lines. Large pieces of equipment were used to destroy other machines and modular buildings.

Houston RCMP responding to the attack were also fired on with flare guns as they removed road barriers.

RCMP Inspector Ken Floyd, the commander of the specialized RCMP contingent created to deal with resource use conflicts, told board members of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako this summer that the February attack on the site resulted in $8 million in damages.

The same work camp has been the focus of ongoing protests by members and supporters of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, who are opposed to the pipeline and had presented an “eviction order” to CGL earlier this year.

Ten months after the attack, no arrests have been made.

Then, on October 26, four RCMP vehicles that are part of the RCMP resource use conflict assets were set on fire outside a hotel in Smithers, B.C., also during a late-night arson attack.

RCMP Cpl. Madonna Saunderson said a total of eight vehicles, including an ambulance, were caught in the blaze as part of what appears to have been a targeted attack on vehicles used for emergency services.

Western Investor’s requests to the Houston RCMP and Inspector Floyd on any arrests or a possible connection between the two attacks have been stonewalled.

“At this time we cannot comment on specifics of either investigation,” said an email response from the RCMP Northern B.C. division.