Somalian rebels belonging to the Al-Shabaab group targeted a United Nations helicopter that had to make an emergency landing in territory controlled by the rebels.
The incident occurred in Xindheere village on Wednesday due to engine failure, according to Mohamed Abdi Aden Gaboobe, the minister of internal security of Galmudug state in central Somalia.
The helicopter, carrying six foreigners and one Somali national, experienced tragic consequences.
One passenger was shot and killed while attempting to escape, and five others were abducted by the attackers.
A person is currently missing.
UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric acknowledged the incident, providing limited details for the safety of those on board.
He mentioned ongoing response efforts and a commitment to resolving the situation.
The nationalities of the passengers were not immediately disclosed, but an aviation official revealed that medical professionals and soldiers were among them.
The helicopter was en route to Wisil town for a medical evacuation mission.
Al-Shabaab has heightened its attacks on Somali military bases in recent months, responding to the loss of control over some rural territories.
The group still holds parts of southern and central Somalia, conducting attacks in various areas, including the capital, Mogadishu.
Al-Shabaab’s actions are fueled by its pursuit of an Islamic state, accompanied by extorting millions of dollars annually from residents and businesses.
Insecurity in the region necessitates the use of air travel for the UN and other humanitarian entities.
The UN mission in Somalia provides crucial assistance in a country facing periodic deadly droughts and possessing one of the world’s least developed health systems.
The UN mission also supports a multinational African Union peacekeeping force, which is gradually withdrawing from Somalia.
The plan is to transfer security responsibilities to the Somali forces, despite concerns about their readiness for the challenge.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres engaged with Somalia’s President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, regarding the agreement signed between Ethiopia and the breakaway region of Somaliland on January 1.
The agreement aimed to grant landlocked Ethiopia access to part of Somaliland’s coast.
However, Somalia’s president rejected the deal, considering it a violation of international law.
The UN secretary-general emphasized the Security Council’s commitment to respecting Somalia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and unity, urging peaceful dialogue among all parties to avoid escalating the situation.