United States elite Special Forces soldiers Navy SEALs have liberated two hostages in Africa 2601123
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Defense News - United States
|Thursday, January 26, 2012, 09:27 AM|
|United States elite Special Forces soldiers of Navy SEALs have liberated two hostages in Africa.|
Elite soldiers U.S. Navy SEALs of United States armed forces swooped into Somalia on Wednesday and rescued two hostage aid workers after killing their nine kidnappers, a rare and daring raid in the Horn of Africa nation to free foreign captives.
Picture: Navy SEAL's soldiers during training.
The United States Navy's Sea, Air, and Land Teams, commonly known as Navy SEALs, are the U.S. Navy's principal special operations force and a part of the Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) as well as the maritime component of the United States Special Operations Command.
American Jessica Buchanan, 32, and Poul Hagen Thisted, 60, of Denmark, humanitarian aid workers for a Danish demining group, were rescued three months after they were kidnapped on October 25 in the town of Galkayo in the semi-autonomous Galmudug region of the Horn of Africa country.
The SEALs came from the same elite Navy unit -- SEAL Team Six -- that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden at his compound in Pakistan last year, U.S. officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The mission also involved other U.S. forces providing airlift for the SEALs to and from the raid.
"The United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people and will spare no effort to secure the safety of our citizens and to bring their captors to justice," President Barack Obama said in a statement.
The SEALs parachuted into a location near the town of Gadaado in central Somalia and then hiked to the encampment where the two hostages were being held by their nine abductors, a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity.
It was not clear that any of the same SEALs were involved in both the Somalia and bin Laden raids even if they came from SEAL Team Six.
The raiding party arrived prepared to detain the kidnappers but was not able to do that and all nine were killed, Pentagon officials said. The kidnappers were heavily armed and had explosives nearby, they said. None of the U.S. forces was hurt.
Obama authorized the raid on Monday and military commanders gave the final go-ahead on Tuesday, Pentagon officials said.
They said a confluence of factors, from the health of the hostages to the available intelligence and operational conditions, gave Obama a window of opportunity to act and prompted Washington to move ahead with the raid.
Buchanan was suffering from a possible kidney infection, according to people involved with the hostages. New evidence obtained last week suggested her health was deteriorating, said Pentagon officials, who would not elaborate on her condition.
"We're confident that there was enough of a sense of urgency, there was enough actionable intelligence to take the action that we did, for the president to make the decision that he did," said Navy Captain John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman.
Buchanan and Thisted were flown to neighboring Djibouti, home to the only U.S. military base in Africa and France's largest base on the continent, a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity. They were under the care of U.S. military doctors, officials said.