Al-Shabab seize U.N. helicopter in Somalia | EUROtoday

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NAIROBI — The al-Qaeda-linked Islamist rebel group al-Shabab has seized the crew of a U.N. helicopter that made an emergency touchdown Wednesday, stated two Mogadishu-based sources with worldwide organizations.

Al-Shabab set the helicopter on fireplace and seized an unknown variety of crew members after the plane was pressured to make an emergency touchdown on its solution to the city of Wisil within the central Galguduud area, a Western official informed The Washington Post. All three spoke on the situation of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the scenario.

A spokeswoman for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia stated a press release can be issued shortly.

U.S. troops are again in Somalia and scrambling to assist its particular forces

The United Nations gives logistical and medical help to the 17,500-strong African Union peacekeeping drive in Somalia. An official with the drive who spoke on the situation of anonymity stated no peacekeeping troops had been onboard the helicopter.

Somali authorities forces, supported by the AU peacekeeping drive and clan militias, have clawed again territory from al-Shabab in recent times, however the rebel group nonetheless controls swaths of the nation.

Galguduud has been a key battleground, the place more and more robust clan militias against al-Shabab’s harsh interpretation of Islamic legislation have repeatedly clashed with the insurgency.

Hundreds of U.S. troops are additionally current within the Horn of Africa nation, the place they prepare the elite Somali particular forces and perform airstrikes and missions.

Somalia has been torn aside by civil struggle since 1991, when clan-based warlords overthrew dictator Mohammed Siad Barre, then turned on one another.

The seize of the helicopter and its crew is more likely to evoke reminiscences of the seize of a U.S. army crew when their Blackhawk helicopter was shot down over Mogadishu, the capital, in 1992.

Al-Shabab has regularly seized overseas hostages, together with medical workers, and stored them in captivity for years. In 2018, they kidnapped a German nurse working with the International Committee of the Red Cross in Mogadishu. She has by no means been recovered.