MOGADISHU, Somalia — The same U.S. Navy SEAL team that killed Osama bin Laden parachuted into Somalia under cover of darkness early Wednesday and crept up to an outdoor camp where an American woman and Danish man were being held hostage. Soon, nine kidnappers were dead and both hostages were freed.
President Barack Obama authorized the mission by SEAL Team Six two days earlier, and minutes after he gave his State of the Union address to Congress he was on the phone with the American’s father to tell him his daughter was safe.
The Danish Refugee Council confirmed the two aid workers, American Jessica Buchanan and Dane Poul Hagen Thisted, were “on their way to be reunited with their families.”
Buchanan, 32, and Thisted, 60, were working with a de-mining unit of the Danish Refugee Council when gunmen kidnapped the two in October.
The raiders came in quickly, catching the guards as they were sleeping after having chewed the narcotic leaf qat for much of the evening, a pirate who gave his name as Bile Hussein told The Associated Press by phone. Hussein said he was not present at the site but had spoken with other pirates who were, and that they told him nine pirates had been killed in the raid and three were “taken away.”
A U.S. official confirmed media reports that the SEALs parachuted into the area before moving on foot to the target. The official said SEAL Team Six carried out the mission, the same team that killed al-Qaida leader bin Laden in Pakistan last May. The raid happened near the Somali town of Adado.