U.S. Navy SEALs parachuted into Somalia early Wednesday, crept to an outdoor camp, and freed an American woman and Danish man.
President Obama authorized the mission two days earlier. Minutes after his State of the Union address, he was talking with the American’s father, saying his daughter was safe.
“As Commander-in-Chief, I could not be prouder of the troops who carried out this mission, and the dedicated professionals who supported their efforts,” Pres. Obama said in a statement released by the White House.
The Danish Refugee Council confirmed that the aid workers, Jessica Buchanan and Dane Poul Hagen Thisted, were “on their way to be reunited with their families.”
Ms. Buchanan and Mr. Thisted were working with a de-mining unit of the Danish Refugee Council when gunmen kidnapped the two in October.
A pirate who gave his name as Bile Hussein told the Associated Press he had spoken to pirates at the scene of the raid and they reported that nine pirates had been killed and three were “taken away.”
A U.S. official confirmed local media reports that the SEALs parachuted into the area, before moving on foot to the target. The raid happened near the Somali town of Adado.
New intelligence emerged last week that Ms. Buchanan’s health was “deteriorating rapidly,” so Pres. Obama directed his security team to develop a rescue plan.
The helicopters and the freed hostages flew to a U.S. military base called Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti after the raid. A key U.S. ally in this region, Djibouti has the only U.S. base in sub-Saharan Africa. It hosts the military’s Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.
The Danish Refugee Council had tried to work with Somali elders to win the hostages’ freedom but had found little success.
Both freed hostages are unharmed “and at a safe location.” They “are on their way to be reunited with their families.”
The two aid workers seem to have been kidnapped by criminals and not by Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked militant group al-Shabab.
Their Somali colleague was detained by police on suspicion of being involved in their kidnapping.
Several hostages are still being held in Somalia, including a British tourist, two Spanish doctors seized from Kenya, and an American journalist kidnapped on Saturday.
Via USA Today.
Filed under Cheers!, World