Special Forces free ‘hostages’ in daring Somalia operation
KISMAYO, Somalia - U.S.-trained Somali special operations forces swooped into Al-Shabab-controlled areas in southern Somalia and rescued 20 hostages in a rare and daring raid, Garowe Online reports.
The freed hostages who are said to be local civilians have been in the hands of the extremist group in the disclosed location for an unspecified period returned to their home villages.
The rescue operation was carried out last week by Danab in the vicinity of Yontoy, the main Al-Shabab bastion located north of the southern port city of Kismayo, the current seat of Somalia’s Jubaland state.
Images shared through social networking sites purportedly showed civilians being evacuated on a military truck belonging to the Somali troops.
There was no independent conformation about the Danab claims.
An American Navy SEAL member, Staff Sgt. Alexander Conrad, 26, was killed and four others were wounded in an Al-Shabab attack on their base in the outskirts of Kismayo in June last year.
The operation comes two weeks after the troops recaptured Awdheegle, a strategic agriculture town, 70 kilometers southwest of Somali capital Mogadishu, pushing back al-Qaeda affiliated group al-Shabab.
The elite Somali army unit, Danab which means “Lightning Brigade’ that emerged as a key force in the fight to reclaim territory held by Al-Shabab is combined with Americans in "counterterrorism" operations.