US forces free American, Danish hostages
25 January 2012, 11:43
Mogadishu - US military forces flew in helicopters
under the cover of darkness on a raid into Somalia early Wednesday and
freed an American and a Dane held hostage, Western officials said.
Pirates reported a gun battle with several casualties.
Danish Refugee Council confirmed that hostages Jessica Buchanan - an
American - and Poul Hagan Thisted - a Dane - were freed "during an
operation in Somalia".
An official told AP that the raid was carried out by US military forces.
second official said the helicopters and the hostages landed at a US
base in the tiny East African nation of Djibouti after the raid. Both
officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the information had
not been released publicly.
Major Kelly Cahalan, a military
spokesperson at U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany, said she had
no information on the reported raid. A spokesperson at the Pentagon had
no immediate comment.
The two hostages had been held in Somalia
since October. The Danish Refugee Council said both are unharmed "and at
a safe location".
A pirate who gave his name as Bilal Hussein
said he had spoken to pirates at the scene of the raid and they reported
that nine pirates had been killed.
A second pirate who gave his
name as Ahmed Hashi said two helicopters attacked at about 02:00 at the
site where the hostages were being held about 20km north of the Somali
town of Adow.