Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Government of the United States on Saturday disclosed that it has successfully secured the release of an American held hostage in Nigeria.
The United States Government, in separate statements issued by the United States Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, and the Chief Pentagon Spokesman, Jonathan Hoffman, however, did not disclose the identity of its national that was held hostage in northern Nigeria.
But Fox News Channel, an American cable news television channel, reported that Philip Walton, 27, who had been taken hostage in northern Nigeria, was rescued by the United States Navy Sea, Air, and Land (SEAL) Teams otherwise known as Navy SEAL.
Pompeo, in a statement issued in Washington DC, United States, said the United States is committed to the safe return of all United States citizens taken captive.
‘We delivered on that commitment late last night in Nigeria, where some of our bravest and most skilled warriors rescued a U.S. citizen after a group of armed men took him hostage across the border in Niger,’ Pompeo said.
Pompeo further expressed gratitude to the United States military forces for their extraordinary courage and capabilities.
‘Thanks to the extraordinary courage and capabilities of our military, the support of our intelligence professionals, and our diplomatic efforts, the hostage will be reunited with his family.
‘We will never abandon any American taken hostage,” Pompeo also said.
On his part, Hoffman said: ‘US 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 US military personnel were injured during the operation.’
Hoffman, an Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, also said: ‘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.”
Reacting to the development, the United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria, in a message on its Facebook page, expressed gratitude to the Federal Government for the rescue of its citizen.
‘We thank the Government of Nigeria for its partnership and support of this mission,’ the United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria said.