A SEAL Team 6 raid in Nigeria, Africa rescued 27 year old US citizen Phillip Walton, who had been taken hostage earlier this week. Walton was abducted in Niger by jihadis on October 26 in the village of Massalata, which is less than 5 miles north of the border of Nigeria. Walton was living in that village when he was abducted from his home.
The abduction, October 26
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Niger is described as a “major hub” of counterterrorism activity. Several jihadi groups operate in the area that are connected to both Al-Qaeda and ISIS — including Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, and the Fulani group. Don’t be fooled by references to Fulani as “herdsmen”- they have burned, looted, raped, and murdered Christians across Nigeria.
The Drive reported,
“Six gunmen armed with AK-47-type assault rifles are said to have demanded money from the American national, who offered an equivalent to between $35 and $40 in Nigerien francs, and then searched his house, before forcing him to go with them at gunpoint. His wife, daughter, and brother were all there at the time, but were left unharmed. There are conflicting reports about whether the armed men arrived on motorbikes, a common mode of transportation in the region, or on foot.
Walton is reportedly the son of a Christian missionary also living in the country, but it is unclear if he is directly involved in this work. Local authorities said that his father, Bruce Walton, subsequently received a phone call demanding an unknown ransom. The U.S. State Department subsequently confirmed the kidnapping and said “we are providing their family all possible consular assistance” in a statement to various outlets.”
The SEAL Team 6 raid
In the early morning hours of October 31, SEAL Team 6 conducted a “daring” raid to rescue Mr. Walton. He is now in the hands of the State Department. SEAL Team 6 was chosen, because their area of responsibility is West Africa.
“We had to get him before any potential trade or sale.” US Official to Fox.
Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that the President had to make the tough decision to greenlight the operation, but that a number of soldiers wanted to get the go-ahead. “A number of captors” were killed in the rescue, but no US solders were injured.
“We delivered on that commitment late last night in Nigeria, where some of our bravest and most skilled warriors rescued a U.S. citizen after a group of armed men took him hostage across the border in Niger.
Thanks to the extraordinary courage and capabilities of our military, the support of our intelligence professionals, and our diplomatic efforts, the hostage will be reunited with his family.
We will never abandon any American taken hostage.” State Department press release
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