Family of US woman freed in Somalia awaits return

January 31, 2012 5:50 am


Buchanan and Thisted were first taken to Italy for medical treatment/FILE
WASHINGTON, January 31, 2012 (AFP) – The father of a female US aid worker who was held hostage in Somalia for three months and then rescued in a bold commando raid said Monday that she was on her way home to Pennsylvania.

“We’re doing well as a family, and Jessica, we have not seen her yet – so today’s the big day,” John Buchanan told ABC News.

“We’re all extremely excited about that. Obviously, I mean I can’t really express it in words what it’s going to be like to see her. … We’re just really looking forward to a great reunion,” he said.

“The reports we’re getting are that she’s doing very well. She’s physically on the mend and psychologically she’s just done great and she’s in a good frame of mind,” Buchanan added.

President Barack Obama ordered the clandestine Navy SEALs swoop which on Tuesday freed Jessica Buchanan and Danish national Poul Thisted after they were held for three months by Somali kidnappers.

The president called Buchanan’s father to tell him of the rescue on Tuesday night.

“I cannot imagine what he went through – given Malia and Sasha,” Obama said earlier in a nod to his own daughters, aged 13 and 10.

“For him to be able to stay strong and then for our incredible men and women in uniform to do what they do, it makes you proud about this country,” Obama told ABC News.

Buchanan and Thisted were taken to Italy for medical treatment. Nine kidnappers died in a firefight during the raid by the SEALs ordered by Obama after intelligence was received that the health of Buchanan, 32, was in danger.

Buchanan and Thisted, 60, were employed by the Danish Refugee Council Demining Group helping to de-mine war-torn Somalia, which has lacked a functioning central government for two decades.


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