WASHINGTON – An American humanitarian worker who was kidnapped in the West African nation of Niger has been freed.
Jeffery Woodke was freed after six years of captivity, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan announced on Twitter.
“The U.S. thanks Niger for its help in bringing him home to all who miss & love him,” Sullivan wrote. “I thank so many across our government who’ve worked tirelessly toward securing his freedom.”
No other details of Woodke’s release have been disclosed.
Woodke kidnapped from home in Niger
A senior Biden administration official who briefed reporters Monday on condition of anonymity described the release as the culmination of years of efforts, but declined to say what exactly led to him being freed from captivity or where he is now.
The official said no ransom was paid and no concession was made to captors.
Woodke was kidnapped from his home in Abalak, Niger, in October 2016 by men who ambushed and killed his guards and forced him at gunpoint into their truck, where he was driven north toward Mali’s border. Though he was believed to have been abducted by a West African affiliate of the Islamic State, Woodke was thought to be in Africa’s vast Sahel region and held by JNIM, a West African affiliate of al-Qaida known.
Woodke had been doing humanitarian aid work in Niger for more than 30 years.
Michael Collins covers the White House. Follow him on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS.
Contributing: The Associated Press