The raid by French Special Forces on 11 January on the place where Al Haraka al Shabaab al Mujahideen was believed to be holding a French intelligence officer may have been a trap, according both to sources familiar with the history of his abduction in 2009 and Somali security forces. French commandos helicoptered into the small town of Bulomarer, about 100 kilometres south of Mogadishu at night, and lost two men, who were killed, according to news reports. The captive, named officially as Denis Allex, was presumed killed, said Paris, though Al Shabaab claimed he was still alive. His death had not been confirmed as Africa Confidential went to press. France said its troops killed 17 Shabaab fighters.
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