An American citizen kidnapped in the West African nation of Niger this past week has been rescued in a U.S. military operation in neighbouring Nigeria, the US Secretary of State has confirmed

Philipe Nathan Walton was taken from his farm in Massalata in southern Niger early Tuesday morning by armed kidnappers who demanded a ransom from the man’s father.

The Defence Department confirmed the operation Saturday, saying it took place in northern Nigeria.

“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,” the department said in a statement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added: “Outstanding work by the US military today in freeing a US citizen taken hostage in Niger and reuniting him with his family.”

Niger has faced a growing number of attacks by extremists linked to both the Islamic State group and to al-Qaeda.

The kidnapping comes two months after IS-linked militants killed six French aid workers and their Niger guide while they were visiting a wildlife park east of the capital.

A US official, who was not authorised to publicly discuss the rescue and spoke on condition of anonymity, told Associated Press there were no solid indications that Walton’s kidnapping was terrorism-related and that it was instead “trending toward a kidnapping for ransom.”

But the official said the US government said it was concerned that the hostage could be passed to another terrorist group, or that the kidnapping could become a prolonged hostage-taking.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly promoted his administration’s focus on securing the release of American hostages held by militant groups abroad as well as others being detained.

Earlier this month, two Americans held captive by Iranian-backed militants in Yemen were released, along with a third person, in exchange for the return of about 250 of the Houthi rebels from Oman.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

UK: Prince Harry and Meghan to lose ‘royal highness’ titles, give up public funds

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are relinquishing their “royal highness” titles and will no longer be “working members of the Royal Family,” Buckingham Palace revealed on Saturday. In addition, they will not receive public funds and will even return the 2.4 million pounds…

“Regret and shame” – PM Mishustin reacts to the dire state of Russia’s regional hospitals

Doctors were poorly paid if they were paid at all and infrastructure investment disappeared. However, in the past two decades, as the country stabilized, things have improved dramatically. Hospitals have been modernized, especially in big cities, while there’s been a…

Finance minister says Germany preparing 150 billion euro supplementary budget

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German finance minister Olaf Scholz said on Saturday that the government was readying a supplementary budget of 150 billion euros ($160 billion), as part of a broader funding package to tackle the economic impact of the coronavirus…

Baghdad revived deal to buy Russian S-300 following US strikes – Iraq’s Security & Defense Committee chairman

The US attacks on Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), known in Arabic as Hashd al-Shaabi, prompted the Iraqi government “to resume negotiations regarding the S-300 deal,” Mohammad Ridha, chairman of Iraqi parliament’s Security and Defense Committee, told Sputnik on Thursday. The…