Navy SEAL Team Rescues American From Somali Pirates
Last night as he walked into the House Chamber to deliver the State of the Union, President Obama singled out Secretary of Defense Panetta, now we know why:
KHARTOUM, Sudan — American commandos raced into Somalia on Wednesday morning and rescued two aid workers, including an American woman, after a shootout with Somali pirates who had been holding them captive for months.
The American soldiers swooped in by helicopter, killed nine pirates and captured several others, before spiriting away the hostages, who were not harmed, Western officials said.
It appeared that President Obama was fully aware of the raid as he was about to give his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, which would have been early Wednesday in Somalia.
According to NBC News, as the president stepped into the House chambers, he pointed to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta standing in the crowd and said, “Leon. Good job tonight. Good job tonight.” The president made no mention of the rescue in Somalia, but he did refer to the killing of Osama bin Laden last May in a similar operation conducted by Navy Seals.
In a statement Wednesday from the White House, the president said he authorized the operation on Monday. “Thanks to the extraordinary courage and capabilities of our Special Operations forces, yesterday Jessica Buchanan was rescued and she is on her way home. 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 statement continued: “Last night I spoke with Jessica Buchanan’s father and told him that all Americans have Jessica in our thoughts and prayers, and give thanks that she will soon be reunited with her family. The United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will spare no effort to secure the safety of our citizens and to bring their captors to justice. This is yet another message to the world that the United States of America will stand strongly against any threats to our people.”
Somalia is considered one of the most dangerous places in the world, infested by pirate gangs and countless militant groups, a lawless space that has languished for 21 years without a functioning government. Several Westerners have recently been kidnapped, typically for ransom, and it seems that as Somalia’s pirates have a harder time hijacking ships on the high seas, because of the beefed up naval efforts, they are increasingly turning to snatching foreigners on land.
On Oct. 25, Jessica Buchanan, an American, and Poul Hagen Thisted, a Dane, were kidnapped by two truckloads of gunmen as they headed to the airport in Galkaiyo, a central Somalia town on the edge of pirate territory. The two were working for the Danish Demining Group, one of the few Western organizations that was still operating in that area.
Nicely done, gentlemen.