After its closure in 2006, the Peruvian Air Force (Fuerza Aérea del Perú, or FAP) has taken the decision to resurrect its Department of Investigation of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena (DIFAA) due to the increasing number of UFO reports occurring in the country. The news was revealed by council member Giorgio Piacenza, adviser to the Exopolitics Institute, who explained that a comprehensive team of elite specialists, comprising air force officials, astronomers, sociologists and archaeologists had been put together with the following departmental brief: “to organize, direct, control and collect information available to investigate and develop records and reports, as well as sorting and processing, filing and custody cases involving these phenomena from the standpoint of national security.”

The newly-formed unit, which was officially launched at a ceremony in Lima on October 18th, will also examine sightings of extra-terrestrial beings and other related phenomena, so for those people "who observe seemingly unconventional phenomena, which cause surprise or concern, know that there is an institution that will study and research your information," reassured DIFAA representative, Colonel Julio Vucetich. Witnesses are now able to submit their written and photographic accounts directly to the Fuerza Aérea del Perú, and can be confident that their reports will taken seriously.

"The prevalent attitude I surmise both in the Civilian Advisory Council and at the Peruvian Air Force is one of flexible, open-minded and also objective research and of considering the wide range of aspects which the UFO Phenomenon and the alleged or actual presence of extraterrestrial beings may entail," said Piacenza.

DIFAA hopes to provide balanced and regulated alternatives to previous media reports of UFOs, which have often been inaccurate and sensationalised, in order to avoid creating panic and concern amongst the population. The department has also looked at other unexplained local mysteries in an attempt to inform and educate the public and end speculation; they recently hosted a meeting on October 19th where the topic of discussion was the famous Nazca lines. The group of experts concluded that the lines were not of extra-terrestrial origin, and, according to one of the presenters, German Maria Reiche, may have been used as a celestial calendar.

South America is known to be a UFO ‘hotspot’, so it is perhaps no surprise that other South American countries, including Uruguay, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina, continue to run departments devoted to the investigation of UFO sightings. Piacenza acknowledged the research already being conducted by neighbouring countries, commenting: "Many countries in the Latin American region are actively pursuing a similar path to legitimate these issues and overcome the unnecessary stigma attached to reporting about UFOs and the possible or real extraterrestrial presence."

It is reassuring that some governments consider that this is a subject still worthy of consideration, as the same level of interest is not being applied to it by other major world leaders. The US government issued the following statement regarding UFOs in 2010:

"This issue is no longer being investigated by the Defense Department. No UFO reported, investigated, and evaluated by the Air Force has ever given any indication of threat to our national security. There has been no evidence submitted to or discovered by the Air Force that sightings categorized as ‘unidentified’ represent technological developments or principles beyond the range of present-day scientific knowledge. There has been no evidence indicating that sightings categorized as ‘unidentified’ are extraterrestrial vehicles."

The UFO department in the UK was closed, rather ironically, because it was considered that the ever-increasing number of sightings was using too many resources, and the government decided that it could not justify the use of manpower as no threat to national security had ever been established.

Nick Pope, who used to run the British Government’s UFO project, told Unknown Country that he welcomed the decision of the Peruvian government to re-open investigations.

"Whatever one believes about UFOs, the fact remains they are regularly seen by pilots and tracked on radar, so it is entirely right that governments and air forces all around the world should take reports seriously" said Pope. "The UK’s decision to terminate their UFO project in 2009 was a mistake and the justification that it would save money was bogus, because in reality, all the resources needed to investigate UFOs in a proper scientific way already exist, so there are no additional costs."

Confirmation of extra-terrestrial life would be one of the most significant discoveries of all time, so let us hope that the global attention given to the Peruvian government’s decision to treat this topic with the respect it deserves may prompt a renewed level of interest from other countries. You can be sure that Unknown Country will present you with the facts as they become available.

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