MOGADISHU, Somalia — A raid to free a French intelligence agent held captive in Somalia for three years went horribly wrong, leaving 17 Islamists and at least one French commando dead in a mud-caked farming town deep in militant territory.
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters in Paris that the hostage, codenamed Denis Allex, was believed to have died and a second soldier was missing.
But the Islamists denied claims that he was killed and said they had a new prisoner — a wounded French soldier.
French officials said the operation in Somalia was unrelated to the military intervention in Mali.
France is “engaged in a merciless fight against terrorism wherever it is found,” Le Drian said.
Allex was captured in Somalia on July 14, 2009 — Bastille Day — and last seen in a video released in October pleading for the French president to help him.
The French government said the decision for the rescue mission had been taken because there had been no progress in three years of attempted negotiations to secure his release.
Residents in the southern town of Bulo Marer, about 70 miles south of Mogadishu, described a noisy scene of explosions and gunfire during the raid. The attack was swift and loud, they said.
“We heard a series of explosions followed by gunfire just seconds after a helicopter flew over the town,” said Mohamed Ali. “The place was an al-Shabaab base and checkpoint.”
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
A division of Trib Total Media is your one-stop-shop for all of your branded merchandise needs.
We specialize in providing quality affordable promotional products for every type of business including non-profits, schools, universities, sports teams and more. With 1000’s of products to choose from, our knowledgeable staff can help you find the perfect apparel item or product to suit your needs and budget.
Why use TPSolutions?
• Quality, brand name, screen printed and embroidered apparel
• Competitive prices
• Free design services
• Volume and non-profit discounts available
• Quick turn around
We offer a wide variety of traditional and new digital advertising options customized to fit your needs!
Whether you're just starting out, or you've been a keystone in the community for years, our knowledgeable staff can provide you with a customized package including online banners/advertisements, Social Media Marketing (Facebook / Twitter), Website development, Search Engine Optimization, Email Marketing solutions and much more!
Contact your local sales rep today for details, personalized proposal and a meeting to discuss how we can meet your needs.