In Somalia, Al-Shabaab militants carried out an assault on a United Nations helicopter that was forced to make an unplanned landing in an area controlled by rebels. The attack resulted in the death of one passenger and the abduction of five others.
According to Mohamed Abdi Aden Gaboobe, the minister of internal security in Galmudug state, the helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing in Xindheere village on Wednesday due to engine malfunction.
According to him, there were six non-Somali individuals and one Somali citizen on the ship. One individual was killed while attempting to flee, and another person is unaccounted for.
According to UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, there was an event involving a helicopter contracted by the UN that occurred today in Galmudug.
He stated that in order to ensure the safety of the passengers, he would not disclose any further information except to mention that “efforts are being made to address the situation…we are actively working on resolving it.”
The identities of the travelers’ countries were not known at the time.
According to an aviation official, the helicopter was carrying medical professionals and soldiers on its way to Wisil town for a medical evacuation.
In recent months, Al-Shabaab has increased their attacks on military bases in Somalia following the loss of some rural territory to a military offensive. This offensive was initiated after the Somali president’s declaration of a “total war” against the fighters.
The terrorist group, Al-Shabaab, maintains authority over some regions in the southern and central parts of Somalia. They persist in launching assaults in the capital, Mogadishu, and surrounding regions, while also demanding large sums of money from citizens and enterprises as they strive to establish an Islamic state.
Due to the high levels of uncertainty, the UN and other humanitarian organizations rely on air travel for their operations in Somalia. The UN’s presence in this region aims to provide aid to a country that is frequently affected by devastating droughts and has one of the most underdeveloped healthcare systems globally.
The United Nations mission also aids a multinational African Union peacekeeping force of 19,000 members in their gradual departure from the country. The goal is to transfer security duties to Somali forces in the upcoming months, although they have been deemed unprepared by some experts.
Somalia’s government has recently expressed approval of the UN Security Council’s decision to remove the arms embargo that has been in place for over 30 years. They believe this will aid in the advancement of their military.
According to Dujarric, the UN’s secretary-general, António Guterres, had a conversation with Somalia’s president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, on Wednesday morning regarding the recent agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland. This agreement, signed on January 1st, grants landlocked Ethiopia access to a portion of Somaliland’s coast.
The president of Somalia has refused to accept the agreement, stating that it goes against international law.
The spokesperson restated the secretary-general’s reminder that the security council has consistently emphasized the importance of respecting Somalia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and unity. He also expressed his wish for all parties to participate in peaceful and productive discussions and to avoid any actions that may worsen the situation.