SEAL Team 6 swoops in and rescues American hostage in West Africa, Trump responds to daring raid
In an incredibly courageous and daring mission, SEAL Team 6 has rescued an American hostage early Saturday in northern Nigeria (West Africa). The elite team of warriors boldly staged the raid and proceeded to free Philip Walton, 27, who had been taken hostage there. “We had to get him before any potential trade or sale,” one U.S. official said.
President Trump tweeted out a strong show of support for the mission and called it a “big win” for the elite force. He then promised further details on the high-risk military raid.
Walton was abducted in Niger earlier this week on Oct. 26. The SEALs rescued Walton after killing a number of his captors. They were selected for the operation because they are responsible for West Africa according to Fox News.
Big win for our very elite U.S. Special Forces today. Details to follow!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2020
The report said that the operation involved the governments of the US, Niger, and Nigeria working together to rescue Walton quickly. It also added that SEAL Team Six operators killed all but one of his seven captors during the daring operation. “They were all dead before they knew what happened,” another counterterrorism source with knowledge told ABC News.
According to US and Nigerien officials, Walton was taken from his backyard after assailants asked him for money and he only offered between $35 and $40 in Nigerien francs. He lives with his wife and young daughter on a farm near Massalata, a small village located less than five miles north of the border with Nigeria and just over 200 miles east of the Nigerien capital Niamey.
“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,” Jonathan Hoffman, chief Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.
“This American citizen is safe and is now in the care of the U.S. Department of State. No U.S military personnel were injured during the operation.”
“We appreciate the support of our international partners in conducting this operation,” Hoffman stated. “The United States will continue to protect our people and our interests anywhere in the world.”
The abductors were believed to be from an armed group from Nigeria that was not considered terror-related. Hostages are often sold to terrorist groups such as those linked with al Qaeda or ISIS by Islamist militants. If that had happened, a rescue operation would have become much more dangerous. Because of this, officials acted immediately.
Niger, home to 22 million people and three times the size of California, is one of many Sahel nations plagued by terrorism and instability. Another American, Christian humanitarian aid worker, Jeffery Rey Woodke, 60, has been held hostage for the past four years since being kidnapped in northern Niger by armed militants.
Thankfully, that won’t be the case here and Walton will be reunited with his family thanks to SEAL Team 6.