Trump to terrorists, kidnappers: steer clear of US citizens


By Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

United States (U.S.) President Donald Trump has warned terrorist groups and kidnappers across the world to steer clear of American citizens.

Speaking against the backdrop of the successful rescue mission carried out in Nigeria at the weekend, Trump said securing the freedom of Americans held in captivity abroad has been a top national security priority of his administration.

He indicated that over 55 hostages and detainees in more than 24 countries have been rescued in the last four years.

In a statement issued by the office of his Press Secretary, the President warned that the weekend operation should serve as a warning to terrorists and criminal thugs+ who mistakenly believe they can kidnap Americans with impunity.

The statement reads: “Last (Saturday) night, at my direction, the United States (U.S.) military conducted a successful operation to rescue an American hostage in Nigeria, kidnapped just 96 hours earlier. United States Special Forces executed a daring nighttime operation to rescue their fellow American with exceptional skill, precision, and bravery. No United States Service members were harmed. The former hostage is currently in good health and has been reunited with his family.

“Securing the freedom of Americans held in captivity abroad has been a top national security priority of my Administration. Since the beginning of my Administration, we have rescued over 55 hostages and detainees in more than 24 countries. Today’s operation should serve as a stark warning to terrorists and criminal thugs who mistakenly believe they can kidnap Americans with impunity.”

U.S special operations forces on Saturday rescued an American citizen taken hostage by armed men earlier last week in Niger and held in northern Nigeria.

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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, it was learnt.

The U.S. forces who conducted the mission killed six of the seven captors, the official said. The U.S. believes the captors have no known affiliation with any terror groups operating in the region.

They were more likely bandits seeking money, the U.S. noted.



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