MOGADISHU Jan 12 At least two civilians were
killed when helicopters believed to belong to the French
military attacked a base belonging to al Shabaab insurgents in a
southern Somalia village to rescue a French hostage, a Somali
government official and rebels said.
French officials were not immediately available to confirm
Authorities in Bula Mareer, a town about 120 km south of
Mogadishu, said helicopters attacked on early on Saturday and
were believed to have been on a mission to rescue a French
hostage who was seized in the Somali capital in 2009.
"Helicopters attacked al Shabaab at 2.00 am this morning.
Two civilians died in the crossfire," Ahmed Omar Mohamed, deputy
chairman for lower Shabelle region, told Reuters.
An al Shabaab official who asked not to be named said they
exchanged fire with French commandoes.
"Three helicopters dropped French commandoes. We exchanged
fire," the official told Reuters.
(Reporting by Adbi Sheikh and Feisal Omar; Editing by George
Obulutsa and Alison Williams)