Tuesday night's successful rescue of two hostages by US Navy SEALs was conducted through the use of the Galkayo airport, based in Somalia's Mudug region. One airport official who spoke to Somalia Report on the condition of anonymity described the operation.
"Around 9:30pm on Tuesday night some US military soldiers arrived at the airport and proceeded to secure it. We knew they were going to use our airport, but did not know why," explained the official.
"Then at approximately 10:00pm local time eight US military helicopters and one passenger plane landed at the airport. After staying there for three hours, two of the helicopters went south of Galkayo while others remained the airport. Then they went many times to the coastline and back," he said.
The two helicopters flew to south to a compound near Cadaado (Adado) and arrived back at the airport around 4:00am. What is now known is that the helicopters were part of the Navy's successful rescue mission of American Jessica Buchanan and Dane Poul Thisted, who had been kidnapped by gunmen in October of last year while they were working for the Danish Demining Group.
"The operation was completed by morning prayers and the airport workers were not allowed to leave until it was over. By 10:00am all the US military helicopters and the passenger plane left Galkayo airport. They used our airport for about 12-13 hours. When the US military was in control of the Galkayo airport, it looked like a prison," said the official.
He added that the regional leaders of Puntland and Galmudug knew about the operation. Galmudug's President Mohamed Ahmed Alin, however, denied knowledge of the event.
"We didnt know have any thing about operation. We only heard it was is done by US military. They didnt inform us, but we heard about it on Wednesday morning. Yes, they used Galkayo airport but it is not controlled by Galmudug," said Galmudug's president.
Puntland's media outlet, Garowe online, reported that, "Puntland authorities were involved in the operation to free the two hostages. Puntland Security Forces had secured Galkayo airport late Tuesday night before the US Navy SEALs and their helicopters touched down at Galkayo."
Galkayo is a city divided in half with the southern section controlled by Galmudug and the northern section, where the airport sits, is controlled by Mudug. In November of last year, the airport was bombarded with artillery due to a bitter clan battle.
Puntland officials refused to comment on the mission.
Another American Held
Meanwhile, efforts to free another American kidnapped by gunmen in Galkayo, Michael Scott Moore, are underway, according to Galmudug's president who spoke to Somalia Report this evening.
President Calin said they are on the way to securing the release of Mr. Moore who is being held in Wirig village, 60km from Hobyo district of Mudug region.
"We are heading to a forested area near Camaara district, which is controlled by Himan and Heeb administration, because the pirates are hiding the journalist in that area. We contacted the pirates who kidnapped Mr. Moore to ask them to release him peacefully and safely because we do not want to attack them. We are worried that if we attack, harm will come to Mr. Moore. We are negotiating with them," said the president. He added that if pirates ignore their advice, force will be used against them.
Pirates Seeking Revenge
Meanwhile a Somali pirate, Mr. Mumin, based in Harardere district told Somalia Report that they will seek revenge for the deaths of their fellow pirates by the US forces. He claimed the military killed nine and arrested five pirates during the rescue operation.
"We are now going to target vessels with Americans. When we find them, we will kill them. We don't plan to ransom them because they killed our colleagues which we are from same tribe.