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ICC Note:

Nusrat al Islam wal Muslimeen, an Al-Qaeda affiliate, released a video earlier this month showing 6 hostages they hold from western countries. These six included a Colombian Nun, Swiss missionary, Australian Surgeon, South African National, French national, and Romanian Mineworker. One man, however, was left out. Jeffery Woodke, a Christian Missionary in Niger, was kidnapped in October of 2016 by the Islamic Terrorist group. They took him from his home in Abalak, Niger, where he has been working and living since 1992. Earlier this month, his wife posted a video online begging the group to release her husband. So far though, no talks have come from the group who seems no closer to releasing Mr. Woodke. As we near a year of him in captivity, we pray for his family and friends who are surely missing him and we pray for his safe return in the days to come.

 

07/21/2017 Mali (TheDailyBeast) – When Sweden’s foreign minister, Margot Wallström, announced late last month that Johan Gustafsson—who was kidnapped by al Qaeda militants in Mali in 2011—had been released and reunited with his family, rumors went round the West African nation that more foreign hostages would be freed in the coming days.

But that didn’t happen.

Instead, the jihadis holding more than half a dozen Westerners put them in front of cameras and, in effect, on the market, pushing their respective countries to negotiate their release.

The al Qaeda affiliated group known as Nusrat al Islam wal Muslimeen—an organization formed by the merger of terrorist groups in the Sahel and West Africa with the Saharan branch of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)—issued a video showing Stephen McGowan of South Africa, Elliot Kenneth Arthur of Australia, Iulian Ghergut of Romania, Beatrice Stockly of Switzerland, Gloria Cecilia Narvaez of Colombia, and Sophie Petronin of France.

These hostages were kidnapped when the several groups were operating separately. Now, the merger in March has brought all the victims under the same terrorist umbrella.

In many cases, we have seen these poor prisoners before. The jihadi groups in the Sahel have often released proof-of-life videos of their Western victims.

But there is one glaring exception.

In October it will be a year since Jeffery Woodke, 56, an American humanitarian worker, was kidnapped from his home in Abalak, Niger, by armed men who killed two guards before driving him across the desert into neighboring Mali. Since the abduction, nothing has yet been said about him by the jihadis.

 

 

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