News / USA

    US Forces Rescue Kidnapped Westerners in Somalia

    Former Somalia Hostage Dane Poul Hagen Thisted pcitured in an undated file photo.
    Former Somalia Hostage Dane Poul Hagen Thisted pcitured in an undated file photo.
    Luis Ramirez

    U.S. defense officials say an American woman and a Danish man who were kidnapped last October in Somalia are safe, after being rescued by U.S. commandos in a daring operation northwest of the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

    Pentagon officials say American forces swept into an encampment in the vicinity of the town of Cadaado, northwest of Mogadishu, and pulled American Jessica Buchanan and Poul Thisted, a Danish national, to safety.

    US Forces Rescue Kidnapped Westerners in Somalia
    US Forces Rescue Kidnapped Westerners in Somalia


    Western officials said U.S. special forces arrived aboard helicopters early Wednesday. Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters the kidnappers were heavily armed.

    Military Raids to Free Hostages in Somalia

    There have been several foreign military operations to free hostages held in Somalia or off its coast. Most of the captives were taken by pirates in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.

    • February 22, 2011: Four Americans are killed by their captors aboard their yacht S/V Quest as U.S. forces move to free them.
    • September 9, 2010: U.S. Marines rescue the crew of the German owned Magellan Star seized in the Gulf of Aden.
    • April 27, 2010: Yemeni forces capture the oil tanker Qana seized off Yemen's coast.
    • April 5, 2010: A Dutch navy frigate frees the German cargo ship Taipan taken off the coast of Somalia.
    • February 5, 2010: NATO special forces free 25 crew members of the Slovenian cargo ship Ariella captured in the Gulf of Aden.
    • April 12, 2009: The U.S. Navy rescues Richard Phillips, captain of a captured U.S. vessel, and kills three of his four captors.

    “They had explosives nearby and there were very concrete plans for removing the kidnappers and placing them in detention,” said Little.

    U.S. officials say that opportunity did not present itself. The raid lasted several hours and by the end of it, U.S. forces had killed nine suspected kidnappers. The Pentagon did not say whether there was an exchange of gunfire. No Americans were killed.

    The kidnapped victims were working for a Danish aid agency when they were abducted by gunmen in October.

    The raid began as President Barack Obama was preparing to give his State of the Union address Tuesday night in Washington. By the time the president approached the podium to begin his speech, he already had learned that the hostages had been safely retrieved.  

    Microphones overheard him praising U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as he entered the room.

    “Good job tonight. Good job,” said Obama to Panetta.

    Defense officials say the decision to carry out the raid came after getting word Buchanan’s health was deteriorating due to a pre-existing health condition. They did not say what that condition is. After her rescue, she was under the care of  U.S. military medical personnel.  

    Defense officials did not disclose her location, but news reports said she was taken to a U.S. base in neighboring Djibouti.  

    The operation happened as the Pentagon prepared to release its new budget, which is expected to contain the first significant cuts since the September 11 attacks of 2001. The budget is expected to raise funding for special operations and unconventional warfare teams.

    The Obama administration this month announced a new military strategy to create what it says will be a leaner, more agile force. The administration has also said it wants to focus more on Africa, where officials say the State Department-designated terrorist groups al-Shabab and al-Qaida are operating in Somalia.

    Pentagon officials described the kidnappers killed in the Somalia raid as criminal suspects and gave no indication of whether they were part of a terrorist network.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese Americans for Trump Going Against National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese Americans for Trump Going Against National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora