US Citizen Abducted in Niger, Rescued by US Force in Nigeria
NEWSMAN – United States forces have rescued an American citizen taken hostage by armed men earlier this week in Niger and held in northern Nigeria.
Pentagon spokesman, Jonathan Hoffman in a statement said . “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. 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,” Hoffman said.
United States president, Donald Trump also applauded the US force in a tweet saying that it was a “Big win for our very elite U.S. Special Forces today”.
Also, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the rescue by “some of our bravest and most skilled warriors” underscores the U.S. commitment “to the safe return of all U.S. citizens taken captive.”
According to reports by CNN, a US official with knowledge of the operation said the mission, which was several hours long, was conducted by the Navy’s elite SEAL Team 6 who were flown to the region by Air Force special operations.
The State Department confirmed earlier this week that a US citizen had been abducted in Niger.
US forces who conducted the mission killed six of the seven captors, the official said. The US believes the captors have no known affiliation with any terror groups operating in the region, and were more likely bandits seeking money, Vanguard reported.
However, local media outlets reported that the US citizen was a male missionary, but CNN has not been able to confirm the citizen’s identity.
The governor of the local region where the abduction took place was quoted in various local media and by French media reporting from Niger as saying that six men on motorbikes armed with AK-47s came to the man’s property in the village of Massalata, close to the border with Nigeria. The governor, Abdourahamane Moussa, told these media outlets that after demanding money, the men took the American citizen with them in the direction of the Nigerian border.