“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,” said Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman in a media release. “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 operation involved the governments of the U.S., Niger and Nigeria working together to rescue Walton quickly, sources said. The elite SEAL Team Six carried out the rescue mission and killed all but one of the captors, according to officials with direct knowledge about the operation.
U.S. and Nigerian officials had said that Walton was kidnapped from his backyard last Monday after assailants asked him for money. But he only offered $40 and was then taken away by force, according to sources in Niger.
Walton lives with his wife and young daughter on a farm near Massalata, a small village close to the border with Nigeria.
Nigerian and American officials told ABC News that they believed the captors were from an armed group from Nigeria and that it was not considered terror-related. But hostages are often sold to terrorist groups.
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