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article imageNavy SEALs raid pirate compound in Somalia, free hostages

By Christopher Szabo     Jan 25, 2012 in World
Mogadishu - U.S. Navy SEALs have rescued two aid workers held hostage by a Somali criminal group during an overnight raid in which a number of hostage-takers were killed.
The BBC reports American Jessica Buchanan, 32, and Dane Poul Thisted, 60, were involved in a Danish de-mining operation about 100 km (60 miles) south of the town of Gaalkayo near the Ethiopian border. The area is controlled by a group not linked to the transitional government in Mogadishu nor to the terrorist Al-Shabaab.
The aid workers were abucted on Oct. 25, 2011.
In a statement, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) said:
”Receiving actionable intelligence, U.S. Special Operations Forces conducted a coordinated operation in the vicinity of Gadaado, Somalia. During the course of the operation, the rescue force patrolled to the location and confirmed the presence of Mrs. Buchanan and Mr. Thisted guarded by nine captors. All nine captors were killed during the assault. After securing the location, U.S. Special Operations Forces found Mrs. Buchanan and Mr. Thisted unharmed in the outdoor encampment.”
The BBC report said the Navy SEAL commandos parachuted into the area and rescued the hostages, then exited the scene by helicopter. A Reuters report says they ”swooped” on the hostage-takers by helicopter.
The US Navy SEALs (for Sea Air Land teams) are part of the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and initially were less known than the U.S. Army Special Forces, or ”Green Berets”.
Today, the USSOCOM co-ordinates U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine special operations units, including the Green Berets, the Navy SEALs, the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and other special operations units, whose task it is to carry out unusual and challenging missions.
Special forces groups have been called ”commandos” since the British adopted the term from South Africa during WWII.
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