Friday, April 10, 2009

One Hostage Dies During French Rescue Operation (Updated: Victim Identified)

Update: Killed Hostage Identified as Florent Lemacon

One hostage and two pirates were killed during a rescue operation mounted by the French military on the hijacked yacht the Tanit. Via Times Online:
French special forces released four hostages today in a rescue operation on a French yacht off Somalia but one hostage was killed, President Sarkozy’s office said.

Two pirates were also killed and three captured as commandos swooped to release two couples and a three-year-old boy whose sailing boat, Tanit, was seized on April 4. There was no immediate word on which hostage had been killed, though it was confirmed that the boy, Colin Lemaçon, was unharmed.

The surviving hostages were in good health after the rescue, which was at least the fourth assault by French forces on pirates operating from Somalia in the past year. Thirty two French hostages have been released from the hands of pirates and, until yesterday, none were killed.

Mr Sarkozy ordered the assault after the pirates refused to accept proposals from French warships shadowing Tanit and tried to sail towards the coast, the Elysée Palace said.

“During the operation a hostage sadly died,” it said. “The President confirms France’s determination not to give into blackmail and to defeat the pirates.”

This tragic outcome highlights the danger the hostages we are praying for are in, and why governments are reluctant to attempt rescue operations, preferring to pay ransoms and buy a happy ending. As we mourn the loss of this hostage, please continue to pray for the protection of the other victims of kidnappings and hijackings, and for wisdom and strength for the government leaders who must make difficult decisions.

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