Al Shabab militants captured a United Nations helicopter carrying two Somali men and several foreigners when it made an emergency landing in an area controlled by the Islamist group, a military official said Wednesday.

The aircraft encountered a malfunction shortly after taking off from the town of Beledweyne in central Somalia, commander Hassan Ali told Reuters, before landing near the village of Hindhere, bordering the Galguduud region.

“Two Somali men and several foreigners were on board. It was also carrying medical supplies and was supposed to transport wounded soldiers from the Galguduud region,” he said.

The Minister of Internal Security of Galmudug state in central Somalia, Mohamed Abdi Aden Gaboobe, told The Associated Press by telephone that the helicopter made the landing due to engine failure in the village of Xindheere. According to him, there were seven passengers on board: six foreigners and one Somali. He claimed that Al Shabab captured five passengers and that another was shot dead when he tried to escape. A passenger remains at large.

Al Shabab has not claimed responsibility for the attack. The United Nations office in Somalia had not responded to the press at the time of going to press.

A UN worker who wished to remain anonymous said the plane belonged to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), and that the crew included five foreigners.

Two UN sources familiar with the matter told Reuters the plane was carrying nine passengers. Reuters could not independently verify the identities of those captured or their nationalities.

Al Shabab, linked to Al Qaeda, has been waging an insurgency against the Somali government since 2006 in an attempt to establish its own government based on a strict interpretation of Sharia (Islamic law).

Although the government has managed to expel militants from several territories since the mid-2010s, al-Shabab controls swaths of land in southern and central Somalia and has continued to attack civilians and carry out attacks against military forces.