The U.S. Army rescued a American hostage in the north. Philip Walton was kidnapped by a criminal gang and rescued by SEAL Team 6. CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin reports. Officials fear that the group will sell him to terrorists operating in the area.
The Pentagon’s chief spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement on Saturday: “U.S. forces conducted a hostage rescue operation in northern Nigeria in the early morning of October 31 to hunt down a group of American citizens detained by armed men. “. “This American citizen is safe and is now under the care of the US State Department.”
The statement stated that no US military personnel were injured in the operation.
Martin reported that Walton, described by Defense Department officials as an American farmer, was kidnapped in Niger earlier this week. According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he was then taken to the Nigerian border.
According to Martin, the criminal gang that captured Walton is located in a small village in Niamey, southwest of Niger. They apparently intend to take him hostage for ransom.
A defense official said that six kidnappers were involved. Five people were killed during the Walton rescue and one of them escaped.
A defense official said that the raid was carried out with the cooperation and support of Niger and Nigeria.
President Trump appeared to praise the rescue on Twitter on Saturday morning. “Today, our elite American special forces won a huge victory. The next details!” The president tweeted.
Pompeo said in a statement on Saturday: “The United States is committed to ensuring that all captured American citizens return home safely.” “We honored this promise in Nigeria last night, after a group of armed men took him hostage at the Niger border. , Some of our bravest and most skilled fighters saved an American citizen.”
Pompeo said: “Due to the extraordinary courage and ability of our military, the support of intelligence experts and our diplomatic efforts, the hostage will be reunited with his family.”