An American citizen who was taken hostage last week in Niger was rescued following a daring raid by SEAL Team 6 in the neighboring country of Nigeria. Philip Walton, 27, who lives in Niger, was taken prisoner by armed men on October 26. He was in his backyard when armed men stormed his property and demanded money. They kidnapped him after he offered them just $40. His wife and daughter, who live with him on a farm, were not taken or harmed.
Officials do not believe his kidnapping was terror-related but warned that hostages are often sold to terror groups in the region.
The successful raid was the result of cooperation between other military services and the intelligence community. The CIA provided intelligence about Walton's general location while a Marine Special Operations unit stationed in Africa helped track him down, allowing SEAL Team 6 to carry out the "precision" hostage rescue mission.
The elite special forces unit jumped out of a U.S. Air Force transport plane a few miles from where Walton was being held. They moved in quickly and managed to kill six of the seven captors without suffering any casualties.
"They were all dead before they knew what happened," a counterterrorism source with knowledge of the raid told ABC News.
President Donald Trump praised the Navy SEALS on Twitter.
"Last night, our Country's brave warriors rescued an American hostage in Nigeria. Our Nation salutes the courageous soldiers behind the daring nighttime rescue operation and celebrates the safe return of yet another American citizen!"
Photo: Getty Images