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Al-Shabab Takes Over Crashed Plane Near Mogadishu

A Somali official says militant group Al-Shabab has taken possession of a small plane that crashed Wednesday west of the capital, Mogadishu.

Sources tell VOA's Somali Service that nine to 11 people were on board the plane, which came down near the Al-Shabab-controlled village of Omar Darire.

There was no immediate word on the fate or identity of those aboard. Sources speaking on condition of anonymity tell VOA the plane had been chartered by contractors working with security operations in war-torn Somalia.

The deputy commissioner of the Afgoye district, Abdullahi Hassan Abdi, tells VOA the plane was surrounded by Al-Shabab gunmen after it crashed and is now in al-Shabab hands.

Abdi said he did not know if the passengers are dead or alive.

It is not known what caused the crash. Residents in the nearby town of Afgoye said the plane circled overhead before heading west of the town.

The plane had reportedly taken off from Nairobi and was heading to Ballidogle, an air base 90 kilometers west of Mogadishu.