Somalilandsun – SOMALIA’S al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab says a French soldier wounded and captured during a failed hostage rescue raid has died and published pictures of the purported commando chief’s body.
“The French soldier who was part of the invasion to Somalia died (from) the injury he sustained,” al-Shabab military spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab told AFP by telephone on Monday.
“Our medical staff attempted to help him but he was unlucky.”
France’s military operation on Saturday to free a French spy held hostage by al-Shabab since July 2009 was a failure, with another French soldier killed and the situation of the hostage unclear.
Al-Shabab, who claim the hostage is alive, said they would announce later in the day their decision regarding his fate, while France believes he was killed during the rescue attempt.
Al-Shabab have posted on their Twitter account two pictures they claim are of a French commando chief killed in the botched raid.
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault denounced the publication of the photographs.
“This is a particularly odious display,” he said.
The French defence ministry earlier had expressed fears the Somali Islamists would put on display the bodies of the missing French soldier and the hostage.
“All indications unfortunately lead us to believe that the Shabab are preparing to organise a disgraceful and macabre display” of the bodies, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.
The gruesome image recalled the incident in 1993 when the bodies of US soldiers were dragged through the streets and mutilated in Mogadishu, after a battle between US forces and Somali militia fighters.
“Francois Hollande … was it worth it?” read a caption addressed to France’s president on a second photo in which the dead man is seen with bullet magazines and an assortment of guns and other tools of war strewn around and on top of him.
The operation by France’s elite DGSE secret service was an attempt to rescue an intelligence agent with the alias Denis Allex, who was captured on Bastille Day 2009.
The minister said at the weekend that a French soldier was missing, but on Monday he said it now appeared the soldier had died. He did not indicate that he was a commander.
He said 17 guerrillas were killed in the raid, while witnesses claimed eight civilians died during the operation at Bulomarer, a town south of Mogadishu still in the control of al-Shabab.