The family of an American hostage of ISIS in West Africa is facing a new worry after suffering through years of his captivity: the risk of a coronavirus infection and fears that his captors in the Sahara Desert may not be able to protect him in a vast, austere region where running water is rare, his wife told ABC News this week.
Jeffery Rey Woodke, 59, a Christian humanitarian worker in Niger since 1991, was kidnapped in the country’s northern desert in October 2016 by militants aligned with the Islamic State terrorist group. Officials said they believe he likely is held by ISIS in neighboring Mali, where French Armed Forces operate.
“My hope is really that he’s isolated enough. But that doesn’t always protect you. So, yes, I am more worried,” Els Woodke told ABC News last week in her first U.S. interview since her husband’s abduction more than three years ago.