France Thinks Hostage Dead After Botched Somali Raid

But his captors dispute the claim
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2013 11:43 AM CST
A frame grab of the hostage identified as Denis Allex, from last year.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – French commandos launched a raid in Somalia today to free a hostage held since 2009, but it appears to have ended disastrously: The French government says the hostage, identified as Denis Allex, was killed during the raid by his al-Shabab captors, reports AP. The militant group, however, claims that Allex is still alive and now being held at a different location. One French soldier was killed in the fighting, along with 17 Islamists. A second French soldier is missing, and al-Shabab says he, too, is now a hostage.

The raid in east Africa comes after French troops intervened in the west African nation of Mali to fight al-Qaeda-linked militants poised to overtake the government. Fighting there intensified today, reports AP. France isn't saying the two developments are related, but the BBC thinks they must be: "The French government knew well the intervention would have dangerous implications for the nine French hostages being held across northern Africa."

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