Al-Shabaab Captures UN Helicopter Following Emergency Landing in Galmudug Region

Emergency Landing in al-Shabaab-Controlled Area Raises Concerns as UN Helicopter with Foreign Passengers Seized.

In a concerning development, a United Nations helicopter, carrying multiple passengers, has been seized by the notorious Islamist militant group al-Shabaab after making an emergency landing in an area under the group’s control, as confirmed by a UN spokesman on Wednesday.

UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric stated that an assessment team is currently being prepared to address the situation, confirming the capture of the helicopter by the al-Qaeda-affiliated terror group.

The emergency assistance helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing, likely due to a mechanical issue, in Somalia’s Galmudug region, a stronghold for al-Shabaab, as reported by the state-run Somali National News Agency (SONNA). The helicopter had eight passengers on board, including foreigners, and a rescue operation is currently underway, according to SONNA.

Al-Shabaab, which translates to “The Youth” in Arabic, has been active in East Africa, primarily in Somalia, and aims to establish a strict form of Islamic law in the region. The group has been designated as a terrorist organization by numerous countries and international organizations, including the United States, the United Nations, and the African Union.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) specified that the helicopter was engaged in an air medical evacuation, with more details expected to be released as they become available.

This incident follows the recent death of Maalim Ayman, a senior leader of al-Shabaab, on December 17, resulting from a joint military operation involving Somali and US forces. Somali Minister for Information Daud Aweis announced Ayman’s death, attributing him to planning multiple lethal terrorist attacks in Somalia and neighboring countries. Ayman was also held responsible for a terrorist attack on US and Kenyan personnel at Kenya’s Manda Bay Airfield on January 5, 2020, according to US officials.

Who is AI-Shabaab?

Al-Shabaab is an Islamist militant group active in East Africa, particularly in Somalia. The group emerged in the mid-2000s as an offshoot of the Islamic Courts Union. Al-Shabaab has been involved in various conflicts, including the insurgency in Somalia and acts of terrorism in the region. It aims to establish a strict form of Islamic law in Somalia and has been designated as a terrorist organization by several countries and international organizations, including the United States, the United Nations, and the African Union.

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