Posted by Curt on 31 October, 2020 at 10:26 am. 8 comments already!



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.

ABC News was first to report on the operation, which occurred at an as-yet-undisclosed location in Northern Nigeria and was conducted with cooperation from Nigerien and Nigerian authorities. The Pentagon has now confirmed that the rescue mission took place in the early hours of Oct. 31, 2020, and was successful, with Walton now safely 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. This American citizen is safe and is now in the care of the U.S. State Department,” Jonathan Hoffman, the Chief Pentagon Spokesperson, said in a statement. “No U.S. military personnel were injured during the operation. We appreciate the support of our international partners in conducting this operation.”

The Pentagon statement did not say how many members of the armed group who kidnapped Walton had been killed or wounded, but ABC News’s report said that all but one of the captors had died in the raid. The status of the remaining individual is unclear.

Details about the exact composition of the raiding force, beyond the inclusion of SEAL Team Six, are limited. The raid included the extremely long-distance movement of forces via multiple C-17A Globemaster III transport aircraft flights and the employment of a quartet of both CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotors and MC-130 special operations transports, the latter of which pushed through Rota, Spain, before continuing to their target. AC-130 gunships and a large contingent of aerial refueling tankers also supported this operation.

The armed group who took Walton remains unidentified, but is said to have not been associated with any known terrorist groups in the region, pointing to some form of criminal enterprise.

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