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January 25, 2012 | By Christi Parsons
President Obama said this morning that U.S. special operations forces had rescued an American woman held hostage for three months in Somalia. Jessica Buchanan was rescued Tuesday and is on her way home, Obama said in a statement issued early this morning. News of the rescue began to spread shortly after Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night. As the president arrived in the House chamber, cameras captured him saying to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, "Good job tonight.
January 25, 2012 | By David S. Cloud and Lutfi Sheriff Mohammed, Los Angeles Times
The Navy SEALs parachuted into the darkness, landing more than a mile from their objective: a small bush camp in north-central Somalia where an American aid worker and a Danish colleague were being held captive. The commandos, several dozen in all, shed their chutes and moved quietly through the brush. The compound had been under secret U.S. surveillance for weeks after an intelligence tip had signaled the whereabouts of the hostages, 32-year-old Ohio native Jessica Buchanan and 60-year-old Poul Thisted.
January 7, 2012 | By David S. Cloud, Los Angeles Times
A Navy destroyer rescued 13 Iranian fishermen held hostage by Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea only days after Tehran warned the United States to keep its ships out of the nearby Persian Gulf. Sailors from the guided-missile destroyer Kidd boarded the Iranian dhow Thursday and detained 15 Somalis after one of the fishermen was able to reveal in a radio communication that his vessel's crew was being held captive. Seeing a publicity windfall at a time of growing tension with Iran, Pentagon public affairs officers quickly swung into action, setting up a conference call for reporters with Navy commanders in the region.
November 18, 2011 | By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times
In the month since Kenya invaded southern Somalia, one government official has urged negotiations with Al Qaeda-linked militants the army is attacking there. Another ruled out talks. A spokesman said the incursion was months in the planning. The army commander said the decision took just days. There is greater accord among officials that the country's first foreign war in its nearly 50-year history is likely to be a long slog, and among critics that Operation Linda Nchi, or Protect the Nation, is a risky venture of more value to the U.S. than to Kenya.
November 17, 2011 | By David S. Cloud and Ken Dilanian, Los Angeles Times
Kenya's government has made an urgent appeal to the Obama administration for the Pentagon to provide intelligence and logistical support to Kenya's faltering month-old military operation in Somalia against the Shabab, a powerful Al Qaeda-linked militia. Administration officials are considering the request, which came through the State Department, to provide military surveillance and reconnaissance that could include imagery from drone aircraft. Such aid would represent a significant expansion of U.S. involvement in the chaotic East African nation.
November 11, 2011 | By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times
When his parents were killed in a rocket attack, the only person to show a lonely Somali boy named Abdi any kindness, or say a caring word, was a family friend named Abdufazil. The man bought him meat and camel milk. Then he sent the 13-year-old to a training camp to become a suicide bomber. Abdufazil was a commander of the militant Islamist militia Shabab in Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, and he told the boy that Christians had killed his parents. He and other Shabab fighters urged him to take revenge for the attack.
November 4, 2011 | By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times
In Nairobi's "Little Mogadishu" neighborhood, paranoia drifts in the air, mingling with cooking smells and the stink of open drains. "I'm living in a world of fear," says Ahmed Ali Ibrahim, a tall, skinny 35-year-old Somali refugee with a shrapnel scar under his skull cap. "I can't walk about freely. " Ibrahim says he fled his homeland for Kenya, seeking safety after being wounded last year in a grenade attack on African Union peacekeepers by the Shabab, the Somali militant group linked to Al Qaeda.
October 30, 2011 | By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times
The commander of Kenya's defense forces declared Saturday that his troops would remain in neighboring Somalia until the threat from the militant Islamist militia Shabab is eliminated and Kenyans feel safe. Given the messiness of other countries' incursions in Somalia, the vow by defense forces chief Gen. Julius Karangi suggests that Kenya's first military adventure since independence nearly half a century ago could be a long one. In 1992, U.S.-led forces launched Operation Restore Hope, which led to the "Black Hawk Down" catastrophe of October 1993, in which 18 U.S. troops were killed and the bodies of some of them dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, the Somali capital.
October 25, 2011 | By Nicholas Soi and Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times
The Kenyan capital was hit Monday by two blasts apparently aimed at civilians a little more than a week after government troops were sent into the country's war-torn neighbor, Somalia. One person was reported dead and more than 20 were injured in the attacks. No one immediately claimed responsibility. But a spokesman for insurgents with the Shabab group last week warned that the group would cause violence in Nairobi if Kenyan troops were not withdrawn. In the first attack, a grenade strike at a bar in downtown Nairobi early Monday injured about 12, with most suffering cuts and scratches.
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