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Colombia: 9 soldiers killed in military helicopter crash

April 30, 2024

Nine members of Colombia’s military lost their lives when their helicopter crashed in a rural area of northern Colombia.

An MI-17 helicopter at descent for landing
The MI-17 Russian-built chopper was often used to carry troops and suppliesImage: Juan SeGG/Pond5 Images/IMAGO

An army helicopter crashed in northern Colombia on Monday, killing all nine soldiers on board, the country's armed forces said.

The crash took place as the helicopter was taking supplies for soldiers to the municipality of Santa Rosa del Sur, a region that has recently experienced fighting between the National Liberation Army guerrilla group and the drug trafficking group known as the Gulf Clan, the Colombian military said in a statement.

The military said that the MI-17 Russian-built chopper crashed around 1:50 p.m. (1850 GMT) local time. The army described the crash as an accident.

"I regret the death of the nine passengers on board the army's helicopter" Colombia's President Gustavo Petro said in a statement posted to X, formerly known as Twitter.

"It was supplying troops that were conducting operations against the Gulf Clan."

The Gulf Clan is one of the most powerful criminal syndicates in the South American nation, and is thought to have around 6,000 men under arms.

The organization is also involved in illegal mining and protection rackets and is responsible for numerous murders and dispossessions.

The cartel's former head, Dairo Antonio Usuga, commonly known as Otoniel, was sentenced to 45 years in prison in the US last year.

dvv/rm (AP, AFP, dpa)