In a daring move, the United States SEAL Team 6 forces have rescued an American hostage, Philippe Nathan Walton, 27, abducted in Niger on October 26 and gunmen demanded a ransom from his relatives, local officials said.
President Donald Trump hailed the rescue as a “big win” for the US military on Saturday after a kidnapped American was rescued in a “high-risk raid.”
While the 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.”
“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 Saturday. “This American citizen is safe and is now in the care of the U.S. Department of State.”
The statement said no U.S military personnel were injured in the operation.
“The United States is committed to the safe return of all U.S. citizens taken captive,”
“Thanks to the extraordinary courage and capabilities of our military, the support of our intelligence professionals, and our diplomatic efforts, the hostage will be reunited with his family,” Pompeo said.
He was taken from his farm, where he lives with his wife and daughter, in Massalata in southern Niger at 1.45am.
“The United States will continue to protect our people and our interests anywhere in the world.”
The kidnapping comes two months after ISIS-linked militants killed six French aid workers and their Niger guide while they were visiting a wildlife park east of the capital.
Walton’s kidnapping brought the number of foreign hostages believed to be held by extremist groups in Niger to seven.
ISIS is believed to be holding one other American, Jeffrey Woodke, who was abducted from his home in Abalak, Niger in 2016.