Walton was kidnapped recently in Niger, where he lives.
Counterterrorism officials told ABC News the mission was carried out by elite commandos as part of a massive effort to liberate US citizen, 27-year-old Philip Walton, before his captors We can go far after arresting him in Niger on October 26, counterterrorism officials told ABC News.
The campaign involved the US, Niger and Nigerian governments to rescue Walton quickly, the sources said. According to officials with direct knowledge of the campaign, SEAL̵7;s Team 6 was on a mission to rescue and kill all but one of the captors.
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said: “US forces launched a hostage rescue operation in the early hours of October 31 in northern Nigeria to salvage an American citizen suffering from an armed group. hold hostage. the care of the US Department of State. No American soldiers were injured during the operation.
“We appreciate the support our international partners have in conducting this activity.”
US and Nigerien officials have said that Walton was kidnapped from his backyard last Monday after the attackers asked him for money. But he only offered $ 40 and was later captured by force, according to sources in Niger.
READ MORE: Americans kidnapped in southern Niger, officials say
Walton lives with his wife and young daughter on a farm near Massalata, a small village on the border with Nigeria.
Nigerien and US officials told ABC News that they believe the captors are from an armed group from Nigeria and that they are not considered to be involved in terrorism. But the hostages are often sold to terrorist groups.
Concern grew rapidly following the kidnapping that the chances of rescuing Walton could become much more dangerous if he was captured or sold to a group of Islamic militants affiliated with al Qaeda or ISIS, and only US special operations officers felt they needed to act quickly before a counterterrorism official briefed about possible hostage operations.
A US State Department spokesperson confirmed after the kidnapping that an American citizen was kidnapped in Niger and said the US government was “providing their families with all the consular support available to them. can. ” The spokesperson declined to comment on the incident, citing “privacy considerations”, but added, “When a US citizen goes missing, we cooperate closely with local authorities when they make search efforts and we share information with families in the way we can. “
A Christian American humanitarian aid worker, Jeffery Rey Woodke, 60, has been held hostage for the past four years since being kidnapped by armed fighters in northern Niger.
Niger, home to 22 million people and three times the size of California, is one of many Sahelian countries suffering from terror and instability, but its military has been a close US partner in the fight against jihadist groups in the region, including branches of al Qaeda as well. and ISIS.
Last week, a United Nations-backed donor summit raised $ 1.7 billion to support regional governments as Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the humanitarian crisis was underway. at a “disruptive” level, with 13.4 million people in need.