‘Highly Planned And Dangerous’: Axe-Wielding Suspects Rack Up Millions In Damages Rampaging Pipeline Operation, Allegedly Try To Set Workers On Fire

(Photo by COLE BURSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Bryan Babb Contributor
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An estimated 20 suspects wearing masks and wielding axes attacked the Coastal GasLink pipeline site in British Columbia (B.C.), racking up millions of dollars worth of damage and allegedly attempting to set workers on fire Thursday, Coastal GasLink said.

“This coordinated and criminal attack from multiple directions threatened the lives of several workers,” Coastal GasLink said in a statement. “In one of the most concerning acts, an attempt was made to set a vehicle on fire while workers were inside. The attackers also wielded axes, swinging them at vehicles and through a truck’s window.”

When the masked attackers began threatening the safety of those on site, workers fled the scene, according to the statement. Coastal GasLink added that no pipeline workers were injured during “highly planned and dangerous unprovoked assault.”

The suspects reportedly cut the locks on a gate to the construction site, where they began vandalizing tools and “heavy equipment” used in the pipeline’s construction, according to the statement. The attack racked up “millions of dollars in damage to Coastal GasLink contractor equipment and property,” the statement said.

Coastal GasLink encouraged anyone with information on the suspects to contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and said it encourages a full-scale investigation into the incident.

The Coastal GasLink pipeline is being built by TC Energy Corp., and is planned to deliver natural gas through British Columbia with a length span of about 416 miles. The implementation of the Coastal GasLink pipeline has drawn controversy, with anti-pipeline protesters blocking commuter bridges in 2020. (RELATED: US-Canada Ambassador Bridge Opens After Dozens Of Arrests Of ‘Freedom Convoy’ Truckers)

When the RCMP responding to Thursday’s incident arrived to the 41 km roadway mark near Houston, B.C., they found the road blocked by felled trees and other obstacles, according to a statement from the RCMP. When police attempted to get through the “debris and traps,” suspects attacked them with “smoke bombs and fire lit sticks,” which injured an officer, the statement added.

Coastal GasLink noted in its statement that its work on the the pipeline is “lawful, authorized, fully permitted” and that it has “agreements in place” with the 20 First Nation councils. The pipeline is approximately 60% complete, according to Coastal GasLink.