Monday, 30 January 2012

Jessica buchanan commercial flight somalia

Jessica buchanan commercial flight somalia

Jessica buchanan commercial flight somalia, Jessica Buchanan's return, Rescued aid worker on way to United States, A U.S. citizen aid worker -- freed in Somalia last week after three months in captivity -- was headed to the United States on Monday via a commercial flight from Italy, a senior U.S. official said. Jessica Buchanan, 32, was set to depart from Sigonella, Italy, the official said. It was unclear what time Monday the flight was to depart.

U.S. military forces rescued Buchanan and Poul Thisted, 60, on Wednesday. The two were traveling in Somalia as workers for the Danish Refugee Council at the time of their kidnappings.

Abductors seized the two on October 25 in the central Somali town of Galkayo after they visited humanitarian projects there, the refugee council said. Neither was harmed.

The Somali government provides security for nongovernmental organizations such as the refugee council when staffers travel in certain areas of the country, Fredrik Palsson, the group's global safety adviser, has said.

Known as special protection units, the guards operate only in specific areas and so aid workers must change vehicles and guards when traveling from one region to the next, Palsson said.

The kidnappers paid off one officer, who replaced the regular guards with others who were in on the plot, he said.

The hostages were freed in a dramatic rescue operation, in which U.S. special operations forces parachuted into Somalia early Wednesday and advanced on foot to the compound where the two hostages were held in order to free them, U.S. officials said. The nine gunmen holding the hostages were killed.

Somalia's transitional government welcomed the operation, saying in a statement the rescue "is a great joy to the Somali government and to all Somalis as well as to all right-thinking people everywhere."

Buchanan and Thisted were taken to Sicily following their rescue, the U.S. military said.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said last week the decision to proceed with the rescue mission was made because "there was information concerning the deteriorating health of Ms. Buchanan."

However, Don Meyer, president of Valley Forge Christian College in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, from where Buchanan graduated in 2007, told CNN he spoke with Buchanan's family Wednesday and those reports were overstated.

In a joint statement issued by the Danish Refugee Council, the families of Buchanan and Thisted expressed relief the two were rescued unharmed.

"We are grateful for all the efforts that have been put into getting them safely back to us and for the fact that a very difficult chapter in our lives is over," the statement said. It requested privacy as the families "adjust and return to normal life."

The U.S. Navy SEAL unit that killed Osama bin Laden last year in Pakistan participated in the rescue mission, a U.S. official said, but he did not specify whether any of the same individuals were on both assaults. The SEALs are part of the Naval Special Welfare Development Group, formerly known as SEAL Team Six.

The aid workers were part of the Danish Refugee Council's de-mining unit, which aims to make civilians safe from land mines and unexploded ordnance.

Buchanan has been employed as a regional education adviser with the mine clearance unit since May. Thisted, a community safety manager with the de-mining unit, has been working in the region since June 2009.

via: CNN

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