United States Special Forces have rescued an American citizen who was kidnapped in Niger by armed men earlier in the week from Northern Nigerian according to the Pentagon.
“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. This American citizen is safe and is now in the care of the U.S. Department of State. No U.S military personnel were injured during the operation,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.
“We appreciate the support of our international partners in conducting this operation. The United States will continue to protect our people and our interests anywhere in the world.”
The US’s Navy elite SEAL Team 6 took point on the mission as they were flown to the region by Air Force special operations, a US official with knowledge of the operation told CNN.
The mission took several hours and six of the seven captors were killed, the official said. According to intelligence, the US believe the assailants were unassociated with any known terrorist groups.
Local media outlets reported that the US citizen was a male missionary Identified as Philip Walton. He was abducted on Monday from a village close to the border with Nigeria.
The governor of the local region where the abduction took place was quoted in various local media and by French media reporting from Niger as saying that six men on motorbikes armed with AK-47s came to the man’s property in the village of Massalata, close to the border with Nigeria.
The governor, Abdourahamane Moussa, told these media outlets that after demanding money, the men took the American citizen with them in the direction of the Nigerian border.
The US has lauded Nigeria for their aid in the rescue of their citizen.