Eight people cleared in Canadian bomb probe

Thu Jan 8, 2009 6:10pm EST
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Canadian police have cleared eight people identified as potential suspects in attacks on natural gas facilities in northern British Columbia, a spokesman said on Thursday.

Police took the unusual step last month of releasing the photographs of the eight people, whose names they did not know but who had used a Dawson Creek, British Columbia, post office the same day that letters believed linked to the attacks were mailed.

The letters sent to media in October warned EnCana Corp and other energy companies to leave the area. Three Encana-owned facilities were damaged by bombs in October and a fourth on Sunday.

"We have identified all eight people and they are no longer part of the investigation," said Sgt. Tim Shields of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, adding that the search did produce more leads for investigators to follow.

Shields acknowledged that investigators were still running into resistance from some residents of the area.

"There is a core of people in the community who we believe have information and are not co-operating with investigators." Shields said.

Investigators have said they believe the attacks are the work of at least one local resident.

Two pipelines and a gas wellhead were damaged in the attacks in October, while the Sunday blast partly destroyed a metering shed at a well south of Dawson Creek, near the Alberta provincial boundary.

There have been no injuries in the incidents, but two of the explosions caused small gas leaks.

(Reporting Allan Dowd, editing by Rob Wilson)