(CNN) — An American aid worker who was kidnapped in Niger more than six years ago and held hostage by terrorists has been released, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan tweeted on Monday.
“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,” Sullivan tweeted.
Jeffery Woodke is now being offered support and transport. “We are working closely with partners in the region and beyond to ensure safe transport and immediate access to the best medical and psychiatric support we can offer,” a senior administration official told reporters on Monday. “Where exactly Jeff chooses to go will be a bit up to him.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Niger earlier this month.
“We have certainly been in touch with them about what a priority it is, for us to secure the release of Americans like my Jeff Woodke, and that’s something that the Secretary confirmed when he was out there,” the official said, adding that Niger would be able to share more details about the release.
The official thanked the government of Niger who was involved in the efforts to secure his release, adding that the US did not pay any ransom to terrorists.
“There was no direct negotiation here between the US government and the terrorist organizations, it is worth making that clear. Certainly, we did not pay a ransom a concession to a terrorist organization here,” the official said.
“Emerging as our best line of effort among many that we have tried over the years was working to see what a very good and capable and thankfully willing partner in Niger was able to deliver in their own engagement,” the official added.
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