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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 053-12
January 25, 2012

Statement by Secretary Panetta on Hostage Rescue Operation in Somalia

            Last night U.S. Special Operations Forces conducted, by order of the President of the United States, a successful mission in Somalia to rescue two individuals taken hostage on October 25, 2011. Ms. Jessica Buchanan, an American citizen employed by the Danish Demining Group, and her Danish colleague, Mr. Poul Thisted, were kidnapped at gunpoint by criminal suspects near Galcayo, Somalia.

            Ms. Buchanan and Mr. Thisted have been transported to a safe location where we will evaluate their health and make arrangements for them to return home.

            This successful hostage rescue, undertaken in a hostile environment, is a testament to the superb skills of courageous service members who risked their lives to save others.  I applaud their efforts, and I am pleased that Ms. Buchanan and Mr. Thisted were not harmed during the operation.  This mission demonstrates our military's commitment to the safety of our fellow citizens wherever they may be around the world.

            I am grateful to report that there was no loss of life or injuries to our personnel.

            I express my deepest gratitude to all the military and civilian men and women who supported this operation.  This was a team effort and required close coordination, especially between the Department of Defense and our colleagues in the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  They are heroes and continue to inspire all of us by their bravery and service to our nation.