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US special forces rescue American hostage in Nigeria

Members assigned to Naval Special Warfare Group 2 conduct military operations during Exercise TRIDENT (TD) 20-2. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Russell Rhodes Jr.)
October 31, 2020

U.S. forces, in the early hours on Saturday morning, rescued an American being held hostage in Nigeria after being kidnapped earlier this week.

Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman confirmed the hostage rescue in a statement to American Military News.

“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,” Hoffman said. “This American citizen is safe and is now in the care of the U.S. Department of State.”

Hoffman said no U.S military personnel were injured during the operation.

President Donald Trump tweeted, “Big win for our very elite U.S. Special Forces today. Details to follow!”

In another tweet, Trump said, “Last night, our Country’s brave warriors rescued an American hostage in Nigeria. Our Nation salutes the courageous soldiers behind the daring nighttime rescue operation and celebrates the safe return of yet another American citizen!”

Fox News reported more details about the raid. According to a military official who spoke with Fox, the raid was carried out by members of the elite U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6. The same military unit also carried out the May 2011 raid to kill Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

Fox reported the hostage was identified as Philip Walton, 27. Walton was reportedly kidnapped this week in Niger, which neighbors Nigeria.

ABC reported, Walton was living with his wife and daughter in Massalata, a small town in Niger, near the border with Nigeria. Counterterrorism officials told ABC that Walton’s captors had abducted him on Monday, Oct. 26.

SEAL Team 6 members rescued Walton after killing a number of his captors, Fox reported.

“We appreciate the support of our international partners in conducting this operation,” Hoffman added. “The United States will continue to protect our people and our interests anywhere in the world.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted, “Outstanding work by the U.S. military today in freeing a U.S. citizen taken hostage in Niger and reuniting him with his family.”