An 88-year-old Australian doctor, Kenneth ElliotOn Friday, the Australian government announced his release, seven years after he was kidnapped by jihadists in Burkina Faso.
Dr. Elliott and his wife were kidnapped by al-Qaeda-linked jihadists on the night of January 15-16, 2016, near the border with Niger. His wife, Jocelyn, was released the following month, after Nigerian mediation.
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong told reporters that Jarrah returned to Australia on Thursday evening.
“Dr. Elliott is safe and has been reunited with his wife, Jocelyn, and their children.”Benny Wong said.
“I am so happy that his release has been secured and that he is safe again with his family.”she added.
Ansar al-Din, an al-Qaeda-affiliated group, claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of the couple. In July 2017, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI) released a video showing six hostages, including Kenneth Elliott.
Dr. Elliot’s family said they were relieved. We wish to thank God and everyone who continued to pray for us.she said in a statement.
“At eighty-eight, and after several years away from home, Dr. Elliot now needs time and privacy to rest and regain his strength. We thank you for your understanding and sympathy.”she added.
Before their kidnapping, the couple from Perth, Western Australia, had run the only medical clinic in Djibou, a town near the border with Mali, since 1972.
They have also done humanitarian work in Mali and Niger.