Niger: US forces free American citizen from Nigerien gunmen

An American citizen kidnapped by gunmen in Niger earlier this week has been freed by US forces.

The country’s defence minister broke the news to AFP on Saturday.

“I confirm the American hostage was released last night,” minister Issoufou Katambe said.

But he stopped short of giving details of the circumstances of the release or the hostage’s whereabouts.

The hostage, Philip Walton, described as the son of a missionary living in Niger, was abducted Monday night on the outskirts of Massalata, a village about 10 kilometres from the border with Nigeria.

“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,” the Pentagon later said in a statement shedding light on the circumstances surrounding the rescue operation.

“This American citizen is safe and is now in the care of the U.S. Department of State.

“No U.S military personnel were injured during the operation.

“We appreciate the support of our international partners in conducting this operation.

“The United States will continue to protect our people and our interests anywhere in the world,” the Pentagon said.


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