Sahel : Els’ response to AQIM video

Jeffery Woodke

My name is Els Woodke.  I am a Dutch citizen and I lived for many years with my husband in Niger.

On October 14 of 2016, my husband Jeff was kidnapped from his home in Abalak, Niger by a group of armed men. The news media has reported that Jeff was taken to Mali.

Jeff has lived and worked in Niger for more than 29 years.  He leads an NGO that assists the local population with farming, health, improving access to clean water, literacy and primary school education.

During the famine, he led the effort to distribute 60 metric tons of rice and 1.2 metric tons of cooking oil to over 1,000 Tuareg and Wodaabe families. He is truly loved and respected by the people of Niger.

Last week, a video was released that spoke about 6 expatriates currently detained in Mali. During the video, the spokesman gave a very direct message to the families of these hostages “To the families of the captives we say: If you desire a genuine and earnest solution for your children, then you yourselves strive to rescue them.”

I am sure the families of these captives are very encouraged by this message and appreciate the mercy shown by Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen in sending this news and instruction about their loved ones.

But my husband Jeff is not mentioned in the video, so I did not receive the benefit of the reassurance and direction on how to proceed that the other families did.

This has been very hard for me and for Jeff’s sons and father to understand.

Please call me at my home –  Jeff can give you the number. Or send me a message by email or WhatsApp. But however you do it, please tell me about my husband.

If you don’t have my husband, please tell me who does.

You can reach me at this phone number or email address


Thank you again for the mercy and compassion you have shown to these other families – please, please extend the same to me.