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US citizen kidnapped in Niger rescued in military operation

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Posted at 10:57 AM, Oct 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-31 10:57:37-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — An American citizen kidnapped in the West African nation of Niger this past week has been rescued in a U.S. military operation in neighboring Nigeria.

That's according to a U.S. official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Philipe Nathan Walton was taken from his farm in Massalata in southern Niger early Tuesday morning by armed kidnappers who demanded a ransom from the man's father.

The U.S. official says there were no solid indications that Walton's kidnapping was terrorism-related and that it was instead "trending toward a kidnapping for ransom."

Walton is now back in Niger, according to the official, who says no ransom was paid.