January 25, 2012

Somalia: Western hostages freed in 'US military raid'

Two foreign aid workers kidnapped in northern Somalia have been freed in a military raid, officials say.
According to unidentified officials, the overnight raid was carried out by US military helicopters and involved US Navy Seals.
It resulted in a shoot-out with the captors and the freeing of the two hostages uninjured, they said. There has been no independent confirmation.
The two hostages, a US woman and a Danish man, were seized last October.
They had been working for the Danish Demining Group when they were seized.
The group helps dispose of unexploded bombs and teaches communities about the dangers of land mines.
A local security official, Mohamed Nur, told AFP news agency that several of the pirates had been killed.
The freed hostages were believed to have been flown to Djibouti by the rescuers, he said.
AFP named them as American Jessica Buchanan, 32, and Poul Thisted, 60, of Denmark.
They were seized by gunmen on 25 October near the town of Galkayo.
This town, in the Somalia's semi-autonomous Galmudug, straddles the border between Somalia's northern semi-autonomous region of Puntland and another district in control of the Galmudug clan, which is aligned to the transitional federal government.

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