U.S.Military conducted a hostage rescue operation during the early hours of 31 October in Northern Nigeria to recover an American citizen, Philip Walton, aged 27, held hostage by a group of armed men.
The operation involved the governments of the U.S., Niger and Nigeria working together to rescue Walton quickly, sources said. The CIA provided intelligence leading to Walton’s whereabouts and Marine Special Operations elements in Africa helped locate him, a former U.S. official said.
U.S. and Nigerien officials had said that Walton was kidnapped from his backyard last Monday after assailants asked him for money. But he only offered $40 USD and was then taken away by force, according to sources in Niger. Walton lives with his wife and young daughter on a farm near Massalata, a small village close to the border with Nigeria.
The United states forces who conducted the mission killed six of the seven captors, the official said. The US believes the captors have no known affiliation with any terror groups operating in the region, and were more likely bandits seeking money.
Fox News reported that it was the US Navy Seal team 6 that conducted the raid and nobody was injured in the exercise.
We thank the Government of Nigeria for its partnership and support of this mission. pic.twitter.com/qieeRcEax2
— U.S. Mission Nigeria (@USinNigeria) October 31, 2020
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “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.
“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. We will never abandon any American taken hostage.”