An American held hostage in West Africa for more than six years has been released, the Biden administration announced Monday.
Aid worker Jeff Woodke was last seen in Niger before his kidnapping in October 2016.
“I’m gratified & relieved to see the release of U.S. hostage Jeff Woodke after over 6 years in captivity,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement.
“The U.S. thanks Niger for its help in bringing him home to all who miss & love him. I thank so many across our government who’ve worked tirelessly toward securing his freedom.”
As of late Monday morning, Woodke’s wife, Els Woodke, hadn’t spoken to her freed husband but she thanked everyone involved in securing his release.
“Els has not yet heard from Jeff but she has been told he is in good condition,” said a family statement.
“She has expressed her profound thanks to the many people in governments and others around the world who have worked so hard to see this result. She praises God for answering the prayers of Christians everywhere who have prayed for this outcome.”
Also on Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that journalist Olivier Dubois had been freed after nearly two years of captivity in Africa.
Dubois went missing in Mali’s northern city of Gao in April 2021.
Macron thanked Niger for helping win Dubois’ freedom but it wasn’t immediately clear what role Mali’s West African neighbor played the hostage release.
Matteo Moschella , Dania Kalaji and Reuters contributed.
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