Peru Air Force has relaunched its UFO department to investigate sightings and other unusual phenomenon. Flickr

Peru’s Air Force has revived its Department of Investigation of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena, DIFAA, to research UFO sightings as well as reports of extraterrestrials. The DIFAA was shut down in 2006 but was relaunched as a response to the increased number of UFO sightings being reported by citizens.

The Agence-France Press reports the DIFFA will include air force officials, astronomers, sociologists and archeologists investigating UFO sighting claims. According to the agency, DIFFA’s “task is 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.” Other South American countries, including Uruguay, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina, have similar departments to investigate UFO sightings.

The DIFFA will also serve to educate the public by hosting different panels and discussions. On Oct. 19, the agency held a meeting on “the Nazca Lines and extraterrestrial beings.” Several experts spoke about the Nazca Lines, massive drawings of animals and insects that can only be viewed from the air, and stated that, despite their unusual nature, were not extraterrestrial in origin. In fact, according to Maria Reiche, a German researcher who presented at the meeting, these drawings could have been used as an astronomical calendar, reports the official Andina news agency.

As part of the reopening of the DIFFA, residents can submit their UFO-encounter claims through photographic evidence or testimony to FAP. The hope is to remove any potential concern, confusion or fear that could be caused by sensationalized media reports on UFO sightings. Most recently, residents of Marabamba reported seeing strange lights for several days.