The U.S. special forces on Saturday, 31 rescued an American citizen who had been kidnapped by armed men in an operation in Bornu state, north east Nigeria.
Pentagon confirmed the operation but did not provide the identity of the hostage.
Meanwhile a diplomat source in Niger has confirmed Walton is now at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Niamey the country’s capital.
“Big win for our very elite U.S. Special Forces today,” U.S. President Donald Trump has Twitted.
The United States President, Donald Trump, says the operation carried out by the US security forces to rescue the 27-year-old American citizen, Philip Walton, abducted last week should serve as a stark warning to terrorists and criminal thugs who believe they can kidnap Americans with impunity.
And while praising the Special Forces for carrying out a daring night time operation to rescue their fellow American with exceptional skill, precision, and bravery, added that securing the freedom of Americans held in captivity abroad has been a top national security priority of his administration.
However, two U.S. officials has disclosed on condition of anonymity that forces including Navy Seals rescued 27-year-old Philip Walton, who had been abducted on Tuesday from his home in neighboring southern Niger Republic. two U.S. officials said on condition of anonymity, adding that no U.S. troops were hurt.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Fox News that the Trump administration had over the years rescued 55 hostages in 24 countries.
At least six foreign hostages are being held by Islamist insurgents in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Islamists have collected millions of dollars in ransom payments in recent years. The U.S. government has frequently criticized other countries for paying.
Walton, who kept camels, sheep and poultry and grew mangoes near the border with Nigeria, was said to have been kidnapped by six men armed with AK-47 assault rifles who arrived on motorcycles at his home in southern Niger’s Massalata village early on Tuesday.
His abductors were reported to have demanded money and searched the family’s home before leaving with him. He is now reported to be in good health and has been reunited with his family.
It could be recalled that Niger, like much of West Africa’s Sahel region, faces a deepening security crisis as groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State carry out attacks on the army and civilians, despite help from French and U.S. forces.