American aid worker released from captivity in West Africa
An American aid worker was released on Monday after six years of captivity in West Africa, the Biden administration announced.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan said he was “relieved” to see the release of Jeff Woodke after extensive efforts to bring him home, adding the country of Niger cooperated with authorities on his case.
“The U.S. thanks Niger for its help in bringing him home to all who miss & love him,” Sullivan tweeted. “I thank so many across our government who’ve worked tirelessly toward securing his freedom.”
Woodke was kidnapped in Abalak, Niger, in October 2016 by gunmen who broke into his home and killed his guards before throwing him in a truck. The kidnappers drove him north toward the country of Mali.
A website devoted to securing the release of Woodke said he was a hostage of militants in the Sahel region in West Africa.
Woodke, 61, of McKinleyville, Calif., was a missionary and a humanitarian aid worker in Niger for 32 years, according to the website.
A senior administration official on Monday said no ransom was paid for Woodke’s release, according to The Associated Press.
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