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Entries in Somali (3)

Thursday
Jan262012

Somalia SEAL Rescue: American's Kidnapping Intentionally Kept Quiet

Poul Hagen Thisted (L) and Jessica Buchanan (R). Danish Refugee Council(NEW YORK) -- A friend of an aid worker rescued by Navy SEALs in Somalia said that it was important to keep the woman's three-month captivity quiet so her captors would not ask for more money and put her at further risk.

Jessica Buchanan, 32, and 60-year-old Dutch colleague Poul Hagen Thisted were rescued early Wednesday by SEAL Team 6 -- the same group involved in the mission to kill Osama bin Laden last spring -- in a daring mission at a remote encampment deep in northern Somalia.

Christina Scolforo, a close friend of Buchanan, says that her abduction was intentionally kept from the media.

"We didn't want them to get media hype that would cause them to think that she was worth more, and they would want more of a ransom, and then it would prolong the time that she was captive, so a lot of it was hush," Scolforo said.

Bachanan's immediate family is now meeting with her at a U.S. military base in Sicily, Italy, members of the woman's extended family told ABC News.

"She says she feels safe for the first time in 93 days. The men that risked their lives...I just can't say enough so I really, really appreciate it," Dave Buchanan, Jessica's uncle said.

Buchanan and Thisted, who worked with the Danish Refugee Council's Danish Demining Group, were abducted on Oct. 25, 2011 by a group of Somali bandits and held for ransom.

At approximately 1:40 a.m. Wednesday local time -- 5:40 p.m. Tuesday Eastern Time -- SEAL Team 6 was aboard a specially equipped C-130 moving rapidly towards where Buchanan and Thisted were being held.  One by one, the SEALs hurled themselves out of the plane, parachuting silently to within a few miles of the hideout, then hiking to the enemy encampment in pitch darkness, with armed pirates everywhere.

Within minutes of arriving at the target area, gunfire erupted from the kidnappers, but the SEALs quickly killed all nine of the heavily armed men.  By approximately 2:30 a.m. local time, the hostages -- now in U.S. hands -- were moved on board Black Hawk helicopters and headed for Djibouti.

In a statement Wednesday, Buchanan's family said they were, "very grateful that Jessica has been rescued.  This has been just an unbelievable answer to prayers and we are so grateful for the work of the president, the Navy SEALs and the State Department."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar082011

Maersk Alabama Targeted Again by Pirates

U.S. Navy(WASHINGTON) -- The Maersk Alabama was targeted again by Somali pirates Tuesday, a U.S. official tells ABC News. This is at least the third time the Alabama has been targeted by pirates, including the famous incident involving Captain Phillips in the spring of 2009.
 
The official says that four suspected pirates approached the ship in a skiff and a hook ladder was visible in the boat. When the skiff came within half a nautical mile the ship’s captain authorized warning shots to be fired. The pirates continued to approach and the captain ordered aimed shots, which convinced the skiff to turn around and sail away.
 
Had the ordered shots been fired, they would have been fired by contracted security on board, something that was added to the Alabama after the Captain Phillips incident.
 
According to NATO’s counterpiracy operation, an attempted pirate attack that matches the event described to ABC News occurred Tuesday in waters between Kenya and Madagascar. It warns that “a Pirate Attack Group consisting of one white skiff with four POB (persons on board) with hooks and ladder was reported” and that the pirates are still in the area.
 
In April 2009 the ship was hijacked by pirates who were overpowered by the crew, but not before they captured the ship’s captain, Richard Phillips, who was held for days in one of its lifeboats until Navy snipers killed his captors.
 
The second time was in September 2010, when, according to the London-based International Maritime Organization, five pirates armed with AK-47s in a skiff targeted the ship as it was sailing off the Somali coast.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec252010

Police Arrest 12 Somalis on Terror Charges

File photo. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands) -- Dutch police have reportedly arrested a dozen Somalis suspected of plotting a terrorist attack in the Netherlands.

Prosecutors say the men - aged between 19 and 48, and mostly from the Rotterdam area - were arrested based on intelligence that alleges they were in the process of preparing an attack in the country.

A number homes were searched, but no weapons or explosives have been found.

Authorities continue to question the men.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio