President Joe Bidens Statement
Today, I am gratified to share that American Jeff Woodke was released from captivity in West Africa. Jeff was kidnapped while serving people in the Sahel as an aid worker, and I am grateful that he will soon be reunited with his wife, Els, and their family after spending more than six years held hostage by terrorists.
The United States extends our deep appreciation to the Nigerien government, which was a critical partner in helping to secure his release.
I am also grateful for the hard work of dedicated public servants across the U.S. Government who made this possible, including the hard-working patriots of the Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell based at the FBI, the U.S. military, and of the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs based at the Department of State.
We remain committed to keep faith with Americans held hostage and wrongfully detained all around the world, and there is no higher priority for this Administration than our work to bring them home.
About Jeff Woodke
Jeff Woodke is a well-known American aid worker who has dedicated his life to helping those in need. He was born on December 8th, 1961, in McKinleyville, California. Growing up, he was an active member of the Boy Scouts and developed a passion for serving others. After completing his education, Jeff went on to work for several non-profit organizations.
In 1993, Jeff joined the staff of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) and served as a missionary in several countries around the world. During this time, he worked to provide disaster relief and community development programs that helped people rebuild their lives after natural disasters struck. Through his work with YWAM, Jeff came to be known as one of the most dedicated aid workers in the field.
The kidnapping of Jeff Woodke shocked the world. He was a humanitarian aid worker who had been working in Niger for over two decades, helping to provide assistance to those in need.
On October 14, 2016, he was abducted from his home by armed men and taken across the border into Mali. For almost six years, there was no word on his whereabouts or condition.
Sources: THX News & The White House.