Colombian investigators are working around the clock to recover information from the computers and usb-sticks found in the jungle camp where armed forces killed the guerrillas’ military commander on Wednesday.
According to National Police commissioner Oscar Naranjo, it could take months to fully recover the data on these computers because of the amount of information stored on the computers, disks and memory sticks. The highest police chief told newspaper El Espectador that forty investigators are working 24 hours a day on the recovery of information.
Authorities and media are giving conflicting information on how many computers and memory sticks were found. According to President Juan Manuel Santos, 14 computers and 60 memory sticks were found, but Navy vice-admiral Alvaro Echandia said there were 20 computers, 78 memory sticks and 3 external hard drives. According to newspaper El Tiempo, 15 computers, 94 memory sticks and 14 hard drives were found.
Following criticism on how the police handled computers found in the camp of Raul Reyes in 2008, Naranjo assures that this time the police vows to work according to international forensic and legal standards. Courts have so far rejected the computers as evidence in criminal cases against people accused of having ties to the FARC.
“The seized material is kept in a chain of custody and will be submitted to a computer crime lab with the highest safety standards according to forensic standards,” Naranjo said.
Additionally, the police chief promised there will be “the full possibility to trace who operated” the computers and their data. “This way there can be no doubt that the computers could have been manipulated.”
The computers were found in what Colombian authorities call the “mother camp” of the country’s largest guerrilla group. The attack on this camp killed the FARC’s military chief “mono Jojoy” and a second senior commander, “Romaña.”