Operation Barras - Hostage Rescue Sierra Leone
Updated: Sep 16
Unit/ Formation: SBS
Location: Sierra Leone
Period/ Conflict: Sierra Leone Civil War
Date/s: 10 September 2000
In September 2000, British troops undertook a daring hostage rescue operation in the war-torn West African country of Sierra Leone. They successfully freed five British soldiers who had recently been captured and around 20 civilian prisoners.
The ground operation to rescue Royal Irish hostages was conducted by D Squadron, 22 Regiment SAS supported by SBS who assaulted Gberi Bana and elements of 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment (1 PARA), who launched a diversionary assault on Magbeni.
At the same time, the Paras attacked the village of Magbeni on the other side of Rokel Creek. This was vital to prevent the West Side Boys stationed there from intervening against the rescue mission taking place at Gberi Bana.
The Paras had to jump out of the helicopters into a waist-deep swamp. Worse, in the early stage of the battle, their commander and some key personnel were wounded by a mortar shell. Despite this setback, they pressed on and, after bitter fighting, were also victorious.
They released civilians being held prisoner there and recaptured the vehicles belonging to the Royal Irish Regiment patrol.
A Special Forces team fast-roped down from the helicopters into the heart of Gberi Bana and raced to get to the hostages before they could be executed. The Special Forces reconnaissance troops provided crucial fire support from the jungle.
Other teams deployed around the village to secure the position and drive the West Side Boys into the jungle. Against the odds, the hostages were all rescued and no helicopters were shot down. However, one soldier was killed. Reference: National Army Museum - Operation Barras
Read More/ Web Link: Wikipedia