US officials said US special forces rescued a US citizen during a Saturday operation in northern Nigeria believed to have killed some of his captors.
Forces including the Seals Navy rescued Philip Walton, 27, who was kidnapped on Tuesday from his home in neighboring Niger south, two US officials said on condition of anonymity, and said adding that no American soldiers were injured.
A diplomatic source in Niger said Walton was now in the US ambassador̵7;s residence in Niamey.
“Great victory for our very elite US special forces today,” Donald Trump wrote on Twitter.
The Pentagon confirmed operation but did not provide the identity of the hostages.
In a statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “The United States is committed to the safe return of all imprisoned US citizens. We made that pledge late last night in Nigeria, where some of our bravest and coolest fighters rescued a US citizen after an armed group took him hostage over. border in Niger.
“Thanks to the military’s extraordinary courage and abilities, the support of our intelligence experts and our diplomatic efforts, the hostage will be reunited with the family. We will never abandon any Americans held hostage ”.
Walton, a camel breeder, sheep and poultry breeder and mango farmer near the border with Nigeria, was kidnapped by six men armed with rifles to his home in the village of Massalata, south of Niger, early on Thursday Three.
His wife, little daughter and brother were left behind. The perpetrators demanded money and searched the house before leaving with Walton.
Niger, like much of West Africa’s Sahel, faces a deepening security crisis as groups linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State launch attacks on the military. and civilians, despite the help of French and American forces.
Four American soldiers were killed in an ambush in Niger in 2017, sparking debate about the US role in the sparsely populated West African desert, home to some of the world’s poorest nations.
At least six foreign hostages are being held by Islamic insurgents in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Islamists have collected millions of dollars in ransom in recent years. The US government has frequently criticized other countries for the payment.