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US special operations forces, including members of the U.S. Navy's elite SEAL Team Six, have rescued an American citizen, who was kidnapped just days ago in the northwest African country of Niger, in a raid in neighboring Nigeria. You can read more about what is known about the abduction of 27-year-old Philip Walton from his home in the Nigerien village of Massalata, less than five miles from the Nigerian border, on Oct. 26, in The War Zone's previous reporting on that incident. At the time, we had predicted that some type of special operations mission operation to rescue Mr. Walton could be imminent.Armed gunmen had abducted Philip Walton from his home in neighboring Niger earlier in the week and there were fears he could be sold to terrorists.www.thedrive.com
Update:The aerial operation consisted of multiple special operations command and aerial refueling aircraft which were all forward deployed to NAS Rota, Spain for the operation. These included four MC-130Js callsigns PINCH41-44, four CV-22s callsigns JOLT31-34, one AC-130J callsign RCH1009, one P-8A callsign MN801, and six KC-135Rs callsigns QID636/638-642. All of the aircraft flew south over Africa down to a task area near Niger or Nigeria.
Last night, at my direction, the United States military conducted a successful operation to rescue an American hostage in Nigeria, kidnapped just 96 hours earlier. United States Special Forces executed a daring nighttime operation to rescue their fellow American with exceptional skill, precision, and bravery. No United States Service Members were harmed. The former hostage is currently in good health and has been reunited with his family.
Securing the freedom of Americans held in captivity abroad has been a top national security priority of my Administration. Since the beginning of my Administration, we have rescued over 55 hostages and detainees in more than 24 countries. Today’s operation should serve as a stark warning to terrorists and criminal thugs who mistakenly believe they can kidnap Americans with impunity.