An American Christian aid worker was kidnapped in Niger after gunmen raided his home and killed two of his guards, authorities said Saturday.
It is believed to be the first time an American citizen has been abducted in Sahel region.
Al-Qaida and criminal gangs frequently target French nationals and other Europeans, demanding millions of dollars for their release, The Associated Press reports.
The gunmen arrived on a motorbike and they are en route toward Mali, Reuters reported.
“We are aware of reports of the kidnapping of a U.S. citizen in Niger,” a State Department official said after the abduction late Friday. “The U.S. Department of State has no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas.”
A source in Niamey told CBN News that the man is Jeff Woodke, who is known for his work among the woodabe, a people group in the Sahel region.
He and his wife Else, a Holland native, started a literacy program and shared the Gospel among the natives .
“Please get the church to pray for him,” said the source on condition of anonymity. “His work is mostly in the Abalak area, among the Woodabe and the Tuareg.”
Woodke is reported to work for the Christian organization YWAM (Youth With A Mission).
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SOURCE: CBN News