Wednesday, August 26, 2009

So how did the French hostage escape?

You may recall that over a month ago, two French DGSE agents, while on official mission to train forces from Somalia's Transitional Federal Government were abducted by Somali insurgents. But that's the easy (and rather straightforward part of the story), the rest of it, as we say in French, is rocambolesque--that's means fantastic/incredible but that doesn't really do the word justice because rocambolesque involves some degree of unpredictability, slapstick theater and tragicomedy.

Anyway, according to press reports, the kidnapping didn't go very well. First off, the vehicle the two officers were packed into broke down literally minutes later. So other groups that were nearby basically stole the hostages from the initial kidnappers. Then those people got into a fight and split them up...

In any case, news today emerged that one of the hostages had escaped. The first thing out this morning was that the agent had killed three of his captors and escaped. Now, if that had been true, it would have been bad ass...Then there were other stories that he'd "escaped" after a ransom had been paid (something the French deny).

That didn't happen though (I suppose unfortunately if you're on the lookout for these types of stories). What did happen, according to an interview that the agent gave to Radio France Internationale was that (my quick and easy translation):
Tuesday night, close to midnight, I took advantage of my captors sleeping. They were tired because of Ramadan. Because my cell was badly closed, I took off, without using violence. In any case, if I had fired shots, I would have been killed. Then I walked almost five hours through the night, using the stars to guide me to the area I hoped to reach. Someone tried to shoot me but I ran, hid and they missed me.
He safely made it to an AMISOM base in Mogadishu and then was shipped off to Nairobi. I guess it's good to know celestial navigation but the story is still rather rocambolesque don't you think? Now we wait to see what happens to/with his colleague.

1 comment:

  1. Kudos to the DGSE for the holistic training of its agents. I recently read in the Washington Post (August 10) the account of the likewise rocambolesque escape by sea from Dubai by a former DGSE agent.