Somalia: Western hostages freed in US military raid
Two foreign aid workers kidnapped in Somalia three months ago have been freed in a rare US military raid. US officials have confirmed that elite US Navy Seals were dropped into Somalia to carry out the overnight operation which resulted in a shoot-out.
The two hostages were freed uninjured, although nine of their captors are said to have been killed. No casualties have been reported among US forces. The hostages – a US woman and a Danish man – were seized on 25 October.
BBC Security correspondent Frank Gardner says Wednesday’s rescue is the highest profile US action in Somalia since it pulled its forces out of the country in 1994.
A Pentagon official has confirmed to the BBC said that the unit involved was the elite Seal Team Six, which killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan last May, although the same personnel were not necessarily involved.
Seal Team Six suffered heavy losses last August in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan which killed 38 people.
US officials said the Somali kidnappers were “criminals” rather than Islamist al-Shabab militants.
More than 150 people are still being held hostage in Somalia – mostly sailors from ships seized for ransom by pirates.
They include a UK tourist and two Spanish medics who were abducted in neighbouring Kenya.
Kenya blames al-Shabab for those kidnappings, but the group – which controls much of southern and central Somalia – denies any involvement.
Read full story on BBC News
Category: World News |