French soldier killed in Somalia hostage rescue

NAIROBI (AFP) - A French soldier was killed in a failed bid to free a French hostage overnight in southern Somalia, an Islamist spokesman said on Saturday.

"The French did not get what they were looking for," spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab from Somalia's Shebab insurgents said, adding that the French commandos left the body of their colleague behind following the operation.

The French foreign ministry had no comment when contacted early Saturday in Paris.

At least one resident of the town of Bulomarer, where the attack allegedly took place, reported seeing the lifeless body of a white man.

Witnesses said four helicopter gunships were used in the raid.

"A French soldier was killed during an exchange of fire, and his body was left by his comrades" after they failed in two attempts to recover it, the spokesman said.

A secret agent named as Denis Allex was kidnapped in Mogadishu in August 2009 along with another agent who was released the following month.

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