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Country Risk

Shootdown of cash-transporting helicopter highlights ongoing high risk to commercial aircraft in Colombia’s Catatumbo region

14 January 2019
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Event

On 11 January 2019, a helicopter operated by Aerocharter Andina and transporting cash on behalf of Brink’s was set on fire and destroyed in a field in Hacarí municipality located in the Catatumbo region of Norte de Santander.

The helicopter had been fired upon while flying over the area, forcing it to make an emergency landing. The helicopter’s three crewmen were subsequently kidnapped and about USD500,000 of cash stolen. The Catatumbo region is a hotspot of illegal armed group activity, with the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), criminal remnants of the Ejército Popular de Liberación (EPL), the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), and criminal groups such as the Rastrojos operating in the area.

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