WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Wednesday praised U.S. Special Operations Forces who rescued two hostages, including an American aid worker, from pirates in Somalia during an early morning raid.
Obama said Jessica Buchanan, an American aid worker with the Danish Refugee Council, is “on her way home.” Buchanan and Dane Poul Hagen Thisted were kidnapped at gunpoint by Somali pirates in October.
“As Commander-in-Chief, I could not be prouder of the troops who carried out this mission, and the dedicated professionals who supported their efforts,” Obama said in a statement.
In a separate statement, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Buchanan and Thisted “have been transported to a safe location where we will evaluate their health and make arrangements for them to return home.” He said the two hostages were not harmed during the operation, and no U.S. troops were killed or injured.
“This was a team effort and required close coordination, especially between the Department of Defense and our colleagues in the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Panetta said. Obama said he had approved the mission Monday.
On Tuesday night, Obama appeared to refer to the mission before delivering his State of the Union address. As he entered the House chamber in the U.S. Capitol, he pointed at Panetta in the audience and said, “Good job tonight.” The president did not mention the operation during his speech.
In his statement Wednesday, Obama said: “The United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will spare no effort to secure the safety of our citizens and to bring their captors to justice. This is yet another message to the world that the United States of America will stand strongly against any threats to our people.