World News – United States – US hostage Philip Walton rescued in dramatic military operation: officials


A US citizen kidnapped last week in Niger was rescued in a high-risk U military raid in neighboring Nigeria, officials told ABC News on Saturday morning

The mission was undertaken by elite commandos as part of a major effort to free US citizen, Philip Walton, 27, before his captors could go far after taking him captive to the Niger on Oct 26, counterterrorism officials told ABC News

The operation involved the governments of the US, Niger and Nigeria working together to rescue Walton quickly, sources say The elite SEAL Six team carried out the rescue mission and killed all the kidnappers except one, according to officials with direct knowledge of the operation

« US Armed forces carried out a hostage rescue operation in the early hours of October 31 in northern Nigeria to retrieve an American citizen held hostage by a group of armed men, » the spokesperson said. Pentagon chief spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman « This US citizen is safe and is now in the custody of the US Department of State No US servicemen were injured in the operation

US and Nigerien officials said Walton was kidnapped from his backyard last Monday after attackers demanded money from him But he only offered $ 40 and was then forcibly taken away, according to reports sources in Niger

Walton lives with his wife and young daughter on a farm near Massalata, a small village near the border with Nigeria

Nigerian and US officials told ABC News they believed the kidnappers were from a Nigerian armed group and was not seen as linked to terrorism But hostages are often sold to terrorist groups

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Concern quickly grew after the kidnapping that an opportunity to save Walton could become much more dangerous if kidnapped or sold to a group of militant Islamists aligned with Al Qaeda or Daesh and US special operations commanders felt they had to act quickly before that could happen, said counterterrorism official briefed on hostage recovery operations

A US State Department spokesman confirmed after kidnapping that a US citizen was abducted in Niger and said the US government « is providing their families with all possible consular assistance The spokesperson declined to comment on the case, citing « confidentiality considerations, » but added: « When a US citizen goes missing, we work closely with local authorities as part of their efforts to research and share information with families as we can « 

Another Christian American aid worker, Jeffery Rey Woodke, 60, has been held hostage for four years since his kidnapping in northern Niger by armed militants

Niger, home to 22 million people and three times the size of California, is one of many countries in the Sahel beset by terrorism and instability, but its military has been a US partner in the fight against regional jihadist groups, including affiliates of Al-Qaeda and ISIS

Last week, a UN- backed donor summit raised $ 1.7 billion to support governments in the region as Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the humanitarian crisis is at a « tipping point » , with 134 million people in need of assistance

Niger, Nigeria, Donald Trump, hostage, kidnapping, SEAL Team Six

News from around the world – United States – American hostage Philip Walton rescued in dramatic military operation : official



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