President Donald Trump hailed SEAL Team 6 for its successful rescue of an American citizen taken hostage in Nigeria on Saturday, saying the kidnappers “wished they’d never done it.”
The U.S. military announced the successful operation Saturday, saying the American citizen, Philip Walton, had been taken hostage for less than a week before the U.S. special forces unit rescued them, killing six of seven kidnappers.
Trump made the comments during a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, hours after first praising the special forces unit on Twitter.
“Last night, our Country’s brave warriors rescued an American hostage in Nigeria,” he tweeted. “Our Nation salutes the courageous soldiers behind the daring nighttime rescue operation and celebrates the safe return of yet another American citizen!” (RELATED: Islamic Militants Slaughter At Least 81 Men, Women, Children In Nigerian Village Attack)
Last night, our Country’s brave warriors rescued an American hostage in Nigeria. Our Nation salutes the courageous soldiers behind the daring nighttime rescue operation and celebrates the safe return of yet another American citizen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2020
Neither the U.S. service members nor Walton were injured in the operation, according to the Pentagon.
Officials said local gang members kidnapped the Walton, who the military described as a farmer, from his backyard in Niger and planned to hold him for ransom. U.S. officials also said they feared the gang would sell Walton to terrorist groups operating in the region, according to CBS News.
“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,” Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement Saturday. “This American citizen is safe and is now in the care of the U.S. Department of State.”