An American citizen kidnapped in Niger last week has been rescued in neighboring Nigeria by U.S. special forces.
“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!” President Trump said in a tweet congratulating the effort.
Philipe Nathan Walton, 27, was taken by armed captors from his farm in the southwestern region of Massalata, Niger. The attackers demanded ransom from Walton’s father. Authorities do not believe the abduction was terror-related.
The “precision” hostage rescue was conducted by SEAL Team Six, which killed six of Walton’s seven captors, according to ABC News.
“They were all dead before they knew what happened,” a counterterrorism source with knowledge of the rescue told the network.
Seal Team 6 is famous for killing Osama bin Laden.
Walton has since returned to Niger. No ransom was ever paid.
Niger has seen an uptick in extremist-related kidnappings in recent years. ISIS militants killed six French aid workers and a guide just two months ago while they were visiting a wildlife park near the capital city of Niamey.
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