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UN helicopter seized by militants in Africa with passengers aboard

UN helicopter seized by militants in Africa with passengers aboard Al-Shabaab militants seize UN helicopter (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

Al-Shabaab militants seized a United Nations helicopter after it made an emergency landing in an area controlled by the Islamist group. Onboard were two Somalis and several foreigners, according to Reuters.

Major Hassan Ali reported that shortly after taking off from the city of Beledweyne in central Somalia, the aircraft developed a malfunction, forcing it to land near the village of Hindere, bordering the Galgadud region.

"Two Somali men and several foreigners were onboard. It was also carrying medical supplies and it was supposed to transport injured soldiers from Galguduud region," he said.

Simultaneously, an anonymous UN source reported that the plane belonged to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), and the crew consisted of five foreigners.

According to reports, there were nine passengers on board the aircraft.

Situation in Somalia

For several years, Somalia has been facing a critical food situation, exacerbated by the worst drought in decades, resulting in the deaths of over 43,000 people.

The UN and other donors have been providing systematic assistance to Somalia. The UN's humanitarian aid budget for Somalia amounts to 72 million euros ($77 million), with 10 million euros ($10.68 million) allocated to the World Food Programme (WFP).

Other countries, such as Ukraine, are also providing assistance. Last September, Ukraine delivered 50,000 tons of Ukrainian wheat to Somalia and Ethiopia.