May 28, 2024

American missionary Jeffery Woodke freed more than six years after he was taken captive by militants in Niger

The Biden administration announced on Monday that an American Jefffrey Woodke who was taken captive by militants in the West African country of Niger more than six years ago has been freed.

“I’m gratified & relieved to see the release of U.S. hostage Jeff Woodke after over 6 years in captivity,” the White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan tweeted. “The U.S. thanks Niger for its help in bringing him home to all who miss & love him.”

Woodke was released in the Mali-Burkina Faso area. He was kidnapped in October 2016.

He had been captured by a hostage-taking network after working for years in the region, according to the official, who declined to say which specific terrorist organization had been holding the American.

Woodke’s wife, Els, had said three years ago that her family believed that her husband had been held by the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (IS-GS) to an al-Qaida affiliate in northwest Africa known as JNIM.

A senior administration official did not disclose the location of Woodke or when he was expected to arrive in the United States.

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