“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,” said Jonathan Hoffman, Pentagon spokesman, in a statement. “No U.S military personnel were injured during the operation.”
The SEAL team worked with the CIA and the governments of Niger and Nigeria to identify Walton’s location. Kidnappers, who intended to hold Walton hostage for ransom, originated in the capital of Niamey in southwestern Niger, CBS reported.
The kidnappers, armed with AK-47 rifles, arrived at Walton’s home in Niger on Monday, near the village of Massalata, about 250 miles east, Radio France International reported. The gunmen demanded money, but when Walton said he had only $35, he was abducted, and taken across the nearby border to Nigeria, a village chief said.
U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo praised the “extraordinary courage and capabilities of our military” in a statement and said Walton would be reunited with his family.
“We will never abandon any American taken hostage,” Pompeo said.