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Elite commandos fro the U.S. SEAL Team 6 were involved in a rescue of a 27-year-old U.S. citizen held hostage by an armed gang in Nigeria, the Pentagon said Saturday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

Elite commandos fro the U.S. SEAL Team 6 were involved in a rescue of a 27-year-old U.S. citizen held hostage by an armed gang in Nigeria, the Pentagon said Saturday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 31 (UPI) — U.S. elite forces rescued a kidnapped American citizen held captive by a gang in northern Nigeria, the Pentagon said Saturday.
A U.S. missionary, identified as Philip Walton, 27, was rescued by SEAL Team 6 in a commando raid that killed all but one of seven kidnappers, U.S. officials said. Walton was safe and in the care of the U.S. State Department.

“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.”

President Donald Trump called the rescue a “big win for our very elite U.S. Special Forces” in a tweet.

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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.

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“We will never abandon any American taken hostage,” Pompeo said.

 

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