Today at two o'clock in the morning helicopters attacked the base of Al-Shabaab. From three helicopters landed the French commandos. There is a fight. ” This news The deputy head of the Somali region of Lower Shabelle, Ahmed Omar Mohamed, was the first to officially announce the agency Reuters 12 in January. In the morning, the President and the French Minister of Defense have already said that the special forces in Somalia could not release the agent of the French foreign intelligence Denis Allex. During the battle, he and two officers of the combat detachment were killed. A day after the operation, intelligence confirmed: "This is really a failure."
The next day, the topic of the Somali incident was closed, giving the most respectable public the opportunity to unleash their imagination. And she gave. Here is what exotic version I heard in mid-January in one of the West African countries. A person who was not completely ignorant of such matters stated:
“Aleks interfered with everything. They just got together to drive out Al-Qaeda from Mali and pinned Shabaab, and here he is again with his pleas for salvation and the demands to give the extremists the will to do anything and anywhere. Including, mind you, and in France itself. I think they were not going to save him. They did everything for so long, roughly and noisily, so that the militants would finish him off. ”
What is this - evil stupidity or bitter truth? Of course, secret service operatives often perform ambiguous missions. But rescuing hostages is a different matter. It is not by chance that this type of special operations is called “the work of angels”. And the angels, as you know, are sinless. On closer examination, it turned out that the raid in the small Somali town of Boulomarre is no exception.
What, then, was not enough - good luck, effort, information, time, and where did such versions come from?
In 2009, DGSE agents with pseudonyms Denis Allex and Mark Obrier were sent to Mogadishu. There they trained the President’s security and security services of the Somali Federal Transitional Government. The 14 of July of the same year, in a hotel where they were registered as journalists, were both captured by a “brigade” of field commander Isa Kamboni of Hezb-ul-Islam.
Oburier in August of the same year miraculously managed to escape. According to the official version, “after the guards fell asleep, he got out the window” and walked several kilometers to the presidential palace Villa Somalia on the coast. True, those who are intimately familiar with the mores of the capital of Somalia, reasonably doubt that a white man could walk at least a hundred meters through the night Mogadishu. Somali experts say that the dashing “commander” simply agreed to give the agent for the ransom. This version is confirmed by the fact that, having received an unexpected sum, Camboni instantly evaporated from the fronts of the civil war.
Colleague Aubriera is fantastically unlucky. Almost immediately after the seizure, another Islamist group, Al-Shabaab, under threat of force, demanded that the "comrades" share the booty. And Camboni gave them Allex.
And in 2010, the militants posted his video message on the Internet. Allex was mockingly dressed in an orange jumpsuit similar to Guantanamo prisoners. He really called on France to completely abandon the support of the Somali authorities. In October of last year, another video appeared in which a prisoner agent asked President Francois Hollande to secure his release and voiced really completely unacceptable conditions. In order not to irritate public opinion, it was necessary to do something. Conversation?
“Do you know what Shabaab demanded for this spy? A lot of money and the refusal of France of any support for the legitimate authority in Somalia. Withdraw military advisers, remove warships from the coast, roll AMISOM mission. Who would go for it? So they told me in Africa.
It's true. A French expert who participated in several "conversations" with the militants, confirmed: "Negotiations with the Somali Islamists became impossible because of the huge amounts they require." According to French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian: “Shabaab demanded release, I do not know how many jihadists around the world. It was completely impossible and unreal. It is easy to say “let's make a deal”, but we cannot agree to initially unacceptable conditions, as was the case with Shabaab. ”
Such a cocktail of money and desires is really strong for any country. True, Somali journalists claim that Shabaab initially demanded that France “stop assistance to the federal government of Somalia in the military and intelligence spheres,” but finally agreed to cash. But then the Americans rested - not to pay money in any case. As a result, France only strengthened its support for the authorities in Mogadishu, and it was decided to return the agent by force.
At the end of last year, French President Francois Hollande gave the green light to conduct a special operation. The right to determine the exact time of the attack, depending on the technical and weather conditions, the French president left DGSE. The forces and means of this intelligence has always been enough. Yes, and the release of her agent, she was preparing for a long time. As reported by a person close to this case, more than a year.
The operation was developed at the Paris headquarters of its “combat wing” Division Action (DA). The means of organizing logistics and supplies were provided by the army. The Allies, primarily the Americans, provided technical assistance — communications, acoustic devices, and a couple of attack aircraft for backup.
A combat detachment was formed at the DA special operations center in Perpignan. It was based on Division Action operatives. According to some reports, they were supported by elements of the 1 th regiment of the French Marine Corps (1-er RPIMa) or Commandos Marine - both of which are under the command of the French Special Operations Command (COS).
The detachment was transferred to a joint military base of France and the United States in Djibouti and from there, on a “green whistle,” aboard a universal landing ship-helicopter carrier of the Mistral class of the French Navy. That long and secretly moved along the coast of Somalia. On board were already helicopters of the 56-th air group DGSE and COS, which were to deliver the detachment to the scene of the operation.
Several times the troops took places in helicopters, but, according to one of the participants, the operations "were canceled at the last minute, because we did not receive a firm confirmation of his (Allex) whereabouts."
And here came the exact information that the prisoner was in a particular house in the town of Boulomarre, which is one hundred twenty kilometers south of Mogadishu. The town is located near the coastline, which was the decisive factor. The order to start the operation is given. "Angels" soared into the dark sky and rushed towards the African coast.
The combat squad allegedly flew in four medium-sized transport helicopters EU725 Caracal, which covered one or two fire support helicopters NAR Tigre. The landing was carried out approximately three kilometers from the target: the house in which Denis Aleks was hidden. Somalis say that special forces landed on the outskirts of another village, Daidog, located closer to the coast. Judging by the equipment of the killed commandos, in particular PBS on everything weapons and NVD, the secretive exit to the object was originally planned. This also explains why helicopters landed so far. Rigid installations - to exclude any possibility for anyone to warn the enemy, led to the first victims among the local population. An eyewitness claims that "three people, all members of the same family, were killed outside the town, at the landing site of French commandos." Other "passers-by" were simply tied. It was a military secret to anyone from the authorities that came up with the original idea to cut off not mobile communications in the area, but all residents of the village of Daydoga.
As you might guess, not all fans of Shabaab knit. On a dark night, it’s impossible to keep track of everyone who has a telephone, especially in Africa. The logical result: the “uncovered” people of Shabaab in Daydog contact the commander of the base in Boulomarre Sheikh Ahmed and warn him that a detachment of about fifty foreign-armed soldiers is moving to the militant base. He reacts instantly - takes the prisoner to another house and begins to raise his fighters.
The French are approaching the militant base in Boulomarre, not yet knowing that they should not be an unexpected guest here. Somewhere on the way to the base, one of the groups is confronted with a militant patrol. Watch raises the alarm. Further worse. After the shooting began, additional Shabaab forces quickly approach the battlefield. And there are many more of them than the French expected. There was still a big and similarly unexpected misfortune - the militants knew where there were several battlewagon-pickups with heavy machine guns and chargers. SWAT calls for help helicopters. As one resident recalled: “At first I heard a shootout. After 10 minutes, helicopters began to hit targets on the ground. ” Already in Bulomarera, four more civilians are being killed under crossfire - a woman with a child and two keepers of the local market. “No one could leave their homes. Helicopters circled over the town. "
The detachment is storming the indicated house, in which Allex, of course, no longer exists. In the house of the ambush - "a large group of well-armed militants." Again the delay. The squad begins to comb the neighboring buildings. Experienced operatives guess that Allex is somewhere nearby. They are sure that the militants will not deal with him until the last minute. And in this minute there are, after all, seconds to pull the prisoner out from under the trunks.
And they find Allex. A group of three operatives under the command of Captain Patrice Rebu bursts into the room where he was located. They would have noticed a little earlier in the darkness of the enemy ... Hiding behind a hostage, the gunmen sighting the commander of the group. He and the second operative are injured. So the necessary "angels" moments expired. "Allex was dragged into the next room, and from there came the sound of a shot." An expert from the French special services summarizes: “Denis Allex has become a“ human shield ”, and the operation has lost its meaning.” Receives a command to waste.
Heavy night fight is already three quarters of an hour. Under heavy fire, including large-caliber machine guns, the detachment, carrying the wounded with it, makes its way to the helicopters. After loading it turns out that one operative disappeared. Begin the search. The fact that they did not abandon him, but searched, was later confirmed by local residents: “the body of a foreign soldier was lying on the ground, and helicopters circled over it”.
He no longer help - the guy is dead. Come back for the corpse? At the critical moment the detachment was ready to support the Allies from the air. This was confirmed by President Obama himself: "The US Air Force combat aircraft briefly entered the airspace of Somalia, in order, if necessary, to support the rescue operation." Wipe disguise from the face of the earth, along with all the inhabitants? This will be decided only by the President of France. On the sides - seven wounded operatives. Captain Rebu injured very hard. Militants at any time can knock down any helicopter. Those who are almost saved, and dozens of other guys will die. And he takes a difficult decision - the American attack aircraft leave the combat course, and the helicopters return to the Mistral.
Rebu died from wounds already on board the ship. In the Paris headquarters the lights went out. The operation is over - forget ...
That's probably all that is known about this raid. Those who still believe that the French “angels” wanted Agent Allex's death could clarify this issue with fellow Rebbe's colleagues and the guy who stayed in Africa forever. Yes, in that battle, seventeen militants were killed, including their commander Sheikh Ahmed.
But, it would seem, a simple chain of events, their clear causes and logical consequences still covered the poisonous fog of rumors and understatements. And it is worth explaining.
Start with the fact that all versions of the incident - only version. It is simply impossible to confirm any information from Boulomarer - this is still “the territory of Shabaab”. However, after the raid, the local population eagerly demonstrated phenomenal awareness of the number and armament of the local "garrison", as well as the place where the prisoner was hiding and the progress of the rescue operation. But they themselves said that “no one could leave their homes,” and the next day the militants took away all mobile phones. So everything told by eyewitnesses can be both true and misinformation thrown through "their" militants. An eyewitness states: "Their mission was impossible, and the operation was prepared and carried out not entirely professionally." Who whispered the wording? After all, it’s rather the conclusions of a military man, and not a person who had spent the whole night locked up ...
In addition to misinformation in the form of "evidence", the leadership of Shabaab led several open campaigns of the "information war". Firstly, it was necessary to prevent the immediate “retaliation operation”. Skillfully using the lack of direct evidence that Allex was dead, the militants immediately declared that he was alive and in a "safe place." Win-win option - wherever you hit, Allex will “die”. It worked. "Executed" him only a few days.
Further. It is necessary to show the world that the French are able to throw a comrade in trouble. Militants declare that the missing operative did not die, but was "taken prisoner." Not passed - someone managed to report that "in the morning saw several bodies, among them - the corpse of a white man." Okay. We posted his photo on the Internet and came up with a new version: “they found him still alive, tried to help, but he gave us important information and died from his wounds.” Who can prove the opposite?
Who is to blame?
But it’s impossible to write off everything just because Shabaab had been warned in advance about the attack. “We were told that there were about forty of them (the French) against more than a hundred well-armed militants,” said one local resident. Eyewitnesses claim that the militant base in Boulomarre could not boast of a large garrison or battlewagon before the raid. Yes, and the French side officially announced the reason for the failure of the operation that “the enemy was stronger than expected.”
This means that the initial intelligence was critically inaccurate and unreliable. Incredible. The president of France is personally responsible for the DA special operations before the world. Actually, he answered all day January 12. Could the leadership of one of the best intelligence services in the world ask the president for sanctions on a risky operation, knowing that he could “substitute” him, himself and his own special forces? If you don’t believe in conspiracy theories, then no. Indeed, several previous attempts were canceled precisely because of doubts about the accuracy of the data. So, this time the DGSE management was absolutely confident in the source of its information.
It is stated that Western intelligence services operated independently in Boulomarre. The Somali authorities have confirmed that they have not been notified of the operation. This is a common practice of such operations. But it is not strange.
A total of 28 kilometers north of Boulomarre is the city of Marka, the port and administrative center of the province of Lower Shabelle. It is controlled by the troops of AMISOM - the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia. Together with the Somali army, they have been carrying out Operation Free Shabelle since last year, the goal of which is to completely eliminate Shabaab in the Lower and Middle Shabelle regions. In addition to 2011, the counterterrorist operation of Kenya’s armed forces “Linda Ncci” (“Protect the country”) is being conducted in southern Somalia, and also against Shabaab.
All of them are actively assisted by the special services of the United States and France. Operational information is constantly available. As the United States provides the belligerent armies with the data of their UAVs, which constantly monitor Shabaab from the sky, so the African intelligence constantly monitors the situation through their informants on the ground. Watched from everywhere. How did it happen that they were “underestimated”? I will not guess. There are a lot of versions. Truth is one, and it is safely hidden in the secret reports of French foreign intelligence and, probably, the CIA.
But it is known that there are more and more hostages in Africa, and fewer successful operations to save them. In the north of the continent, nine more French citizens are held captive by extremists. Of these, at least six are being held by the Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AKIM).
So, in Africa it is impossible to achieve exact observance of all conditions guaranteeing success, and the cabinet leadership always has the right to make mistakes. The share of "angels" is not to play by the rules and correct the mistakes of others. And save. Good luck to them!