U.S. forces carried out a rescue operation in northern Nigeria on Saturday to recover an American citizen being held by armed men, the Pentagon said.
“This American citizen is safe and is now in the care of the U.S. Department of State,” the Pentagon said in a statement, adding that no military personnel were injured in the operation.
While the Pentagon did not provide the American citizen’s identity, a U.S. official told Reuters it was 27-year-old Philip Walton, who was kidnapped earlier in the week, and the raid included Navy SEALs.
Six gunmen riding motorcycles and armed with AK-47 assault rifles kidnapped an Walton from his home on the edge of a rural village in neighboring southern Niger early on Tuesday.
Niger, like much of West Africa’s Sahel region, faces a deepening security crisis as groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State carry out attacks on the army and civilians, despite help from French and U.S. forces.