Colombia’s defense minister announced that the military will investigate the leaking of audio and video material that led to speculation about the possible shooting down of a helicopter.
Audio that leaked last week contradicted authorities who had said the crash was an accident due to technical failures. The crash cost the lives of 15 policemen and left only two survivors.
In the audio that was revealed and later spread by the conservative opposition it was implied the aircraft could have been shot down before crashing in the municipality of Carepa, Antioquia.
According to Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas, the audio was manipulated and later used by the conservative opposition led by former President Alvaro Uribe for political reasons.
“The opposition is more interested in finding the minister’s mistake in order to use this for politics than investigating the accidents,” Villegas told Blu Radio.
Personnel from a helicopter that accompanied the crashed helicopter were heard saying “it looks like they were hit from below, not with bullets but with a ‘tatuco’,” a home-made mortar commonly used by FARC guerrillas.
This prompted the opposition to imply the aircraft could have been shot down by the FARC.
The Colombian military has suspended air strikes against the FARC in response to a recent resumption of the rebels’ ceasefire on July 20.
Locals had reported heavy fighting in the hours ahead of the crash.
Hundreds of policemen and members of the military have been carrying out operations in the northwestern Uraba region since the beginning of the year in the hope to capture “Otoniel,” the supreme leader of Colombia’s most powerful drug trafficking organization.