American held hostage since 2016 in West Africa released

Posted at 8:55 AM, Mar 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-20 10:56:01-04

Jeff Woodke, an American aid worker held hostage in West Africa for more than six years, has been released, according to U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

Woodke was taken from his home in Abalak, Niger, in 2016 by a terrorist network that operates across Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. He was released outside of Niger in the Mali-Burkina Faso area, a senior administration official said.

"I'm gratified & relieved to see the release of U.S. hostage Jeff Woodke after over 6 years in captivity," Sullivan tweeted Monday morning. "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."

Woodke lived in Niger for years before he was taken, helping people in the Sahel region.

Jeff Woodke