SEAL Team Six has rescued an American who was being held hostage by a criminal gang in Northern Nigeria, according to reports.
The gang kidnapped 27-year-old Philip Walton in Niger, which borders Nigeria, earlier this week. Officials worried the gang would sell Walton to terrorists, CBS News reported.
A number of Walton’s captors were killed in the raid, according to Fox 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,” Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement Saturday. “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.”
President Trump called the operation a “big win” in a tweet on Saturday.
Big win for our very elite U.S. Special Forces today. Details to follow!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2020
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed the U.S.’ commitment to the “safe return of all U.S. citizens taken captive,” in a statement on Saturday.
“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,” Pompeo said.
He continued: “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.”