Colombia’s Air Force (FAC) said it received the black box from a military aircraft that crashed July 11 in suspected FARC territory in the country’s southwest.
The black box was handed over to the FAC by indigenous authorities Sunday in the troubled southern department of Cauca, where recent fighting has forced an thousands to leave their homes.
According to FAC sources, the content will be analyzed to determine the fate of the Super Tucano aircraft. FARC guerrillas from the Jacobo Arenas column claimed to have downed the plane with a 50 caliber machine gun, while authorities stated the crash was most likely due to mechanical error.
Air Force officials said there was no immediate proof the plane was shot down, and that further analysis could determine the exaxt cause of the crash.
“The results could take 15 to 20 days or a month,” said a FAC representative to radio station Caracol.
Cauca, a tradtional FARC stronghold, has been the scene of fierce protests as indigenous movements in the region tried to force the army and police out of the area, arguing that armed state presence put the community members’ lives at risk.
On Wednesday, one protester was killed near the town of Toribio as the Colombian police retook an army outpost briefly occupied by roughly 400 indigenous protestors, although certain estimates were as high as 1,000. The occupation took place the same day President Juan Manuel Santos arrived in the town to announce “Plan Cauca,” a security strategy aimed at curbing FARC-related violence in the department through increased military presence and the development of social initiatives.
Indigenous elders from the Nasa tribe, a Native American group who have historically resided in Colombia’s highlands, sentenced four FARC members to flogging in Toribio Saturday for disrupting the “harmony” of the community through ongoing fighting with government troops. The three adult guerrillas received 30 lashes, while the sole minor of the group received 10.