Jessica Buchanan, a 32-year-old American aid worker, and her Danish colleague Poul Hagen Thisted, 60, were rescued Wednesday, by Navy's Seal Team 6, a U.S special forces team, after pirates held them hostage for months near the Somali town of Adado.
According to reports by The Associated Press, the Navy Seals entered the country in the dark hours of the night, killed nine kidnappers and quickly freed the hostages.
The two hostages had been with a de-mining unit of the Danish refugee Council when they were kidnapped by gunmen last October. According the AP, President Obama told his security team to work on a rescue plan which would be sent to him for approval, after receiving information last week that Buchanan's health had been deteriorating rapidly. A rescue option was then approved on Monday.
In a statement released by the White House, President Barck Obama stated, As Commander-in-Chief, I could not be prouder of the troops who carried out this mission, and the dedicated professionals who supported their efforts. The Danish Refugee Council has said that the Buchannan and Thisted are on their way to be reunited with their families.
The Washington Post reported that Pentagon officials said there is no indication that the captors were connected to terrorists or to al-Shabab, which is affiliated with al-Qaeda. The men are said to be simply pirates who had been hoping to get a hefty payment after trading the hostages in for ransom.
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The rescue came after Somali authorities had tried and failed for months to rescue the hostages. The Somali government has been overwhelmed and plagued for years by pirates as well as terrorist activities, poverty and instability in the country.
We should remember that Mrs. Buchanan and Mr. Thisted were working to protect the people of Somalia when they were violently kidnapped, Army General Carter Ham, chief of U.S. Africa Command to Time magazine. It is my hope that all those who work in Somalia for the betterment of the Somali people can be free from the dangers of violent criminals.