Pentagon officials on Saturday announced that SEAL Team Six rescued an American citizen that was taken hostage in Nigeria. The soldiers killed several of the individuals involved with the kidnapping and took one of them into custody.
CBS News reported that Philip Walton, 27, was kidnapped from his home in Southern Niger on Tuesday. “Officials had feared the gang would sell him to terrorists operating in the region,” the report explained.
“U.S. forces conducted a hostage rescue operation during the early hours of 31 October in Northern Nigeria to recover an American citizen held hostage by a group of armed men,” Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement. “This American citizen is safe and is now in the care of the U.S. Department of State.”
The statement also noted that no U.S. military personnel were injured in the operation.
On Tuesday, six armed men went to Walton’s home on motorcycles and captured him, leaving his family behind. The group demanded a ransom for his safe return.
The details of the raid have not yet been released, but Walton is now being held at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Niamey. “The United States is committed to the safe return of all US citizens taken captive,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. “We delivered on that commitment late last night in Nigeria, where some of our bravest and most skilled warriors rescued a U.S. citizen after a group of armed men took him hostage across the border in Niger.”
He added, “We will never abandon any American taken hostage.”
President Donald Trump celebrated the successful operation in a tweet on Saturday morning. “Our Nation salutes the courageous soldiers behind the daring nighttime rescue operation and celebrates the safe return of yet another American citizen!” he tweeted.
According to ABC News, the SEALS killed six assailants and brought one into custody.
These types of kidnappings have been on the rise in West Africa. Islamic terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS have been capturing civilians to get money for ransom.
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