Monday, August 31, 2009
A French security agent held captive by insurgents in Somalia escaped last Wednesday, 26 August. Although Somali officials alleged that Marc Aubriere escaped by killing three of his captors, French Foreign Ministry officials initially had no comment and could not even confirm the hostage’s escape.
Marc Aubriere and his colleague were kidnapped by Hizbul-Islamin rebellion on 14 July and after a month in captivity, Mr. Aubriere was able to escape and make his way to the presidential palace, where he found solace. "I escaped at midnight last night. The guards were very tired and sleepy. I didn’t kill anyone or injure anyone while escaping," Mr. Aubriere is quoted as saying. “Of course I feel better than one day ago. Yes I feel very well. I’m happy and I will soon see my family,” he added.
French security consultant Marc Aubriere told of how he sneaked past his Somali kidnappers while they slept then walked by night for five hours across Mogadishu, at one point coming under fire, according to RFI radio. "I'm doing OK and, even if my month and a half in detention was horribly long, I was well treated. There was no torture, nor fake execution," Aubriere told Radio France International. "On Tuesday, around midnight, I took advantage of my jailers falling asleep, tired out by Ramadan. I saw that my cell was badly closed and so I was able to make off without any violence," he said, according to a transcript provided by RFI. "In any case, if I'd fired a shot, other guards would have killed me. Then I walked through the night for almost five hours, guided by the stars to get to where I wanted to go," he said. "Mogadishu is deserted at night and the only men I saw were armed. I was shot at. I ran. I hid and by chance they missed me," he said.
French officials have not formally identified the former hostage beyond describing him as a government employee who was part of a two-man advance team in Mogadishu to help set up a Somali presidential security detail. He has identified himself in interviews with several media outlets since his apparent escape as 40-year-old Marc Aubriere, although it is thought possible that he gave a fake name. Official sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that "Aubriere" is an agent with the French overseas intelligence agency, the General Directorate of External Security or DGSE.
An Islamist official in Somalia claimed that a ransom was paid for the freed hostage, but both the French government and the agent himself have denied that and insists he escaped through his own means.
Team STORMBRINGER wishes "Bon Chance" to fellow adventurer Marc and of course our prayers are with his (unnamed) comrade - still missing and understood to be in the hands of a second Islamist group, the Shebab, which on Wednesday said that an Islamic Sharia court would decide his eventual fate.