Jeff Woodke, who works for Jeunesse en Mission Entraide et Developpement, a branch of the US based organisation Youth With A Mission (YWAM), was abducted from the town of Abalak in northern Niger by unknown assailants late in the evening of 14 October.
Bilou Mohamed, the mayor of Abalak, announced that the community has “suffered a terrible tragedy” and that locals “wept with sorrow, lamenting the loss of a friend” the day after his abduction. He then spoke of the 55-year-old missionary’s dedicated service: “This man has lived among us for years, even when it has been difficult to accompany vulnerable populations… Everyone knows his goodness.”
According to Niger’s interior minister, Mohamed Bazoum, a group of armed men — believed to be from a radical Islamic group called Mujao — burst into Jeff’s home at around 9pm after killing two security guards, including a member of the National Guard who was stationed there. The kidnappers took Jeff by force and drove towards eastern Mali, where Mujao has a stronghold.
Known in Abalak for his devotion to Niger and its nomadic populations, Jeff runs several development projects among the Tuareg people, focussing on farming, health, literacy, primary school education and access to drinking water.
Source: World Watch Monitor
- Please uphold Jeff in prayer as he faces this time of uncertainty in captivity. May he experience the assuring presence of our Lord. Pray he will soon be recovered.
- Pray for Jeff’s concerned family, friends, colleagues and community members, may they be comforted and granted the peace that surpasses all understanding.
- Pray for those grieving the loss of the two security guards. May the Lord walk closely with them during this time off suffering and loss.