NIAMEY, 2 November 2020 – American special forces have rescued an American hostage kidnapped in Niger early last week.
The Pentagon announced Mr. Phillip Walton, the hostage who was abducted Monday from the village of Massalata near the border with Nigeria, was rescued on Saturday.
Locals said six men armed with Ak47s arriving in the village on motorbikes and abducted him.
“This American citizen is safe and is now in the care of the U.S. Department of State,” said Jonathan Hoffman, the assistant to the Secretary of State for Public Affairs.
Mr. Hoffman said no American service personnel were harmed in the operation.
It remains unclear why Mr. Walton, who had been living in Massalata with his wife and child for two years, was targeted.
President Donald Trump sent out a tweet on Saturday praising the elite special forces.
At least six hostages are currently held captive across the Sahel Region by jihadist and criminal groups, according to reports by the French News Agency.
The six hostages are believed to be held in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso. The six include American aid worker Jeffery Woodke who was kidnapped in central Niger four years ago.
Last August, six French humanitarian workers, their driver and a local guide were killed by gunmen in the Koure area of Tillebery region, a tourist attraction well-known for being home to the last herds of giraffe in West Africa.