(NEW YORK) — The husband of a rescued American aid worker said the time his wife spent in Somali captivity was “three months of hell” and that he even kept the secret from many of his friends in order to protect her.
“This morning, after going through three months of hell with Somali pirates, my amazing wife was saved by the American military and she is now in safety!” Erik Landemalm wrote on his Facebook in Swedish. “Words cannot describe the joy and relief we feel! Thank you to all that have helped and apologies to all our friends I haven’t shared this with. This a day of Happiness!”
Jessica Buchanan, 32, and Danish colleague Poul Hagen Thisted, 60, were rescued early Wednesday by SEAL Team 6 — the same group involved in the mission that killed Osama bin Laden last spring — in a daring mission at a remote encampment deep in northern Somalia.
Christina Scolforo, a close friend of Buchanan, says that her abduction was intentionally kept from the media.
“We didn’t want them to get media hype that would cause them to think that she was worth more, and they would want more of a ransom, and then it would prolong the time that she was captive, so a lot of it was hush,” Scolforo said.
Bachanan’s immediate family is now meeting with her at a U.S. military base in Sicily, Italy, members of the woman’s extended family told ABC News.
Buchanan and Thisted, who worked with the Danish Refugee Council’s Danish Demining Group, were abducted Oct. 25, 2011 by a group of Somali bandits and held for ransom.
In a statement released by the White House, President Obama said he had authorized a rescue mission Monday.
In Somalia Buchanan served as a regional education adviser at the Danish Demining Group, a division of the Danish Refugee Council, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Over the three months of her captivity, concern grew about Buchanan’s deteriorating health, which was described as possibly “life-threatening” and a, “window of opportunity for mission success” presented itself, according to Pentagon spokesperson George Little.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Seth Fiegerman, CNN
Faith Karimi, CNN
Lauren del Valle and Shachar Peled, CNN