At least nine soldiers have died, six wounded and 2 others still missing following a military helicopter crash on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 in the country’s southeast.

President Ivan Duque acknowledged the tragedy on his official twitter page.

Duque said the soldiers in the helicopter were supporting operations against illegals at the time of the accident.

A report by NDTV indicated that the Black Hawk helicopter had 17 people on board when it crashed in the stretch of the Inirida River, in the country’s southeastern Guaviare jungle region.

According to the army, the helicopter was supporting a military sweep in an area where dissident former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas are active and it is unclear whether it was shot down or an accident.

FARC rebels laid down their arms in a historic 2016 peace deal that ended a half century of conflict and turned the guerrillas into a communist political party.

About 2,000 dissidents refused to join the 13,000 rebels that signed the peace deal and continued to resist the government, financing themselves though drug-trafficking and illegal mining which has resulted to at least nine million lives lost, missing or displaced due to the conflict.

Meanwhile, army’s air assault division has said investigations have commenced to determined the cause of the tragedy.

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