Saturday, January 20, 2018

Somali captors move U.S. hostage after SEALs raid

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Pirates moved an American hostage at least three times in 24 hours and threatened Thursday to kill him after U.S. Navy SEALs rescued an American and a Dane in a bold, dark-of-night raid that raises questions about whether other Western captives are now in greater danger.

"If they try again we will all die all together," warned Hassan Abdi, a Somali pirate connected to the gang holding the American, who was kidnapped Saturday in northern Somalia.

"It's difficult to hold U.S. hostages, because it's a game of chance: die or get huge money," Abdi said. "But we shall stick with our plans and will never release him until we get a ransom."

Navy SEALs parachuted into Somalia early Wednesday and hiked to where captors were holding American Jessica Buchanan, 32, and Poul Hagen Thisted, a 60-year-old Dane. A shootout ensued and nine captors were killed. Buchanan, Thisted and the U.S. troops were unharmed. The two aid workers had been kidnapped in October.

Buchanan and Thisted were flown to the U.S. Naval Air Base at Sigonella on the Italian island of Sicily to undergo medical screenings and other evaluations before heading home, a U.S. defense official said.

U.S. State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said U.S. officials have been in contact with the family of the latest American kidnapping victim.

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