Multiple news outlets are reporting that McKinleyville resident Jeffery Woodke, who was taken hostage in Niger in 2016, has been released. (See: CNN, NYT, Axios, etc.)
Woodke, a graduate of Humboldt State, was an instructor at the Redwood School of Missions when he embarked on a Christian mission in the largely Muslim West African country.
It is not yet known exactly who took Woodke, news outlets report, though Woodke’s wife — Els Woodke, who still lives in McKinleyville — said that she believed an affiliate of Al Qaeda was behind the kidnapping, a 2021 Associated Press story reported.
Woodke is reportedly receiving medical evaluation in the country’s capital at the moment.
I’m gratified & relieved to see the release of U.S. hostage Jeff Woodke after over 6 years in captivity. 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.— Jake Sullivan (@JakeSullivan46) March 20, 2023