Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

WEB NEWS

NSA targets 'Tor' network users

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users call for peace in Gaza

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French government hopes to collect €1.8bn from foreign accounts

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

  • Video: Slaviansk mourns mass grave victims

    Read more

  • Video: Ethiopia turns to wine to boost image, economy

    Read more

  • France honours those lost on Air Algérie Flight AH5017

    Read more

  • The centenary of Austria-Hungary’s calamitous last hurrah

    Read more

  • UN Security Council calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire

    Read more

  • Nibali joins elite group with Tour de France win

    Read more

  • France calls on its nationals to leave Libya as violence escalates

    Read more

  • Boko Haram kidnap Cameroon minister's wife in deadly attack

    Read more

  • Muslims prepare for Eid al-Fitr festival

    Read more

  • ‘Irresponsible’ American dad tries to scale Mont Blanc with children

    Read more

  • Ukraine fighting prevents observers from accessing MH17 crash site

    Read more

  • In pictures: Crowds flock to enjoy the Tour de France show

    Read more

  • Netanyahu says Hamas 'violating its own ceasefire'

    Read more

  • Video: At the scene of the Air Algérie crash in Mali

    Read more

  • Costa Concordia arrives in port of Genoa to be scrapped

    Read more

  • In pictures: Youths clash with police at banned Gaza protest

    Read more

  • Russia lashes out at new EU sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • Bodies of all Air Algérie crash victims to be brought to France

    Read more

  • Syrian army and ISIS both claim advances

    Read more

  • Briton kidnapped in Yemen freed after five months

    Read more

  • New round of Gaza ceasefire talks takes place in Paris

    Read more

Africa

French soldier killed in failed Somalia hostage rescue

© AFP file photo

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-01-12

A French soldier was killed and another was captured in a failed French commando raid on Saturday to rescue French hostage Denis Allex, who is also believed to have died in the operation, according to the French Defence Ministry.

The Islamist captors of a French military agent killed him during a French commando raid in Somalia, the French Defence Ministry said Saturday. One French soldier and 17 Islamists were also killed in the fighting.

Gen. Martin Klotz, a spokesman for the ministry, declined to provide details of the overnight operation aimed at rescuing secret service agent Denis Allex - the code-name for the man who was kidnapped by the militant Islamist group al-Shabaab in Mogadishu, the capital, in 2009.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Allex had been killed during the failed rescue attempt.

“It was an extremely dangerous mission,'' Le Drian said. “Everything indicates Denis Allex was killed.''

His Somali captors, however, claim they are holding Allex alive and said they had a new captive, a French commando wounded in the fighting.

"(Denis) Allex still remains safe and far from the location of the battle," al-Shabaab said in a news release. "As a response to this botched rescue operation by the French forces, (the Shabaab) assures the French people that it will give its final verdict regarding the fate of Denis Allex within two days."

Residents of the town of Bulomarer described a noisy scene of explosions and gunfire. An al-Shabaab official said that fighting began after helicopters dropped off French soldiers.

“Five helicopters attacked a house in the town. They dropped soldiers off the ground, so that they could reach their destination... but fighting has broken out,” he said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

The al-Shabaab official said that some soldiers were killed, but the group held only one dead French soldier.

“We had Mujahideen fighters already deployed there who fought back the French soldiers. We killed some of their soldiers but only one dead soldier in a French military uniform is in our hands now,” he said.

France acted Friday to help Mali against al-Qaeda-linked militants who hold more than half of that country and are encroaching further on government-held territory. The raid in Somalia could have been aimed at preventing al-Shabaab fighters from harming the French hostage in reprisal. Le Drian, however, said the operation in Somalia was unrelated to the French offensive in Mali.

The French attack was swift and loud, local residents said.

“We heard a series of explosions followed by gunfire just seconds after a helicopter flew over the town,” Mohamed Ali, a resident of Bulomarer, told The Associated Press by phone. “We don’t know exactly what happened but the place was an al-Shabaab base and checkpoint.”

Allex was kidnapped from a hotel in Mogadishu on July 14, 2009, with a colleague who later escaped. They were in Somalia to train government forces, which are fighting Islamist militiamen.

In October, French President François Hollande pledged to “use all means” to contact “anyone who can help free our hostages”.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-01-12

  • SOMALIA

    French spy held captive in Somalia pleads for release

    Read more

  • SOMALIA - KENYA

    Al Shabaab rebels retreat from key Somali stronghold

    Read more

  • Somalia

    AU, Somali troops capture key port from al-Shabaab

    Read more

COMMENT(S)