United States special forces rescue American held captive in Nigeria

United States special forces in an operation on Saturday, rescued an American citizen who had been kidnapped by armed men in northern Nigeria.

The operation is believed to have led to the killing of several of his captors, U.S. officials said.

Forces including Navy SEALs rescued 27-year-old Philip Walton, who had been abducted on Tuesday from his home in neighboring southern Niger, two U.S. officials said on condition of anonymity, adding that no U.S. troops were hurt.

A diplomat in Niger said Walton is now at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Niamey.

“Big win for our very elite U.S. Special Forces today,” U.S. President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Fox News that the Trump administration had over the years rescued 55 hostages in 24 countries.

The Pentagon confirmed the operation but did not provide the identity of the hostage.

Walton, who kept camels, sheep, and poultry and grew mangoes near the border with Nigeria, was kidnapped by six men armed with AK-47 assault rifles who arrived on motorcycles at his home in southern Niger’s Massalata village early on Tuesday.

His wife, young daughter, and brother were left behind.

Reuters reports that the perpetrators appeared to be from the Fulani ethnic group and that they spoke Hausa and some English. They demanded money and searched the family’s home before leaving with Walton.