Australian doctor released after 7 years in captivity in West Africa
Sydney, Australia, May 19 (EFE).- Australia announced Friday the release of an Australian doctor who was kidnapped by a militant group linked to Al Qaeda in West Africa over seven years ago.
“I am very pleased to advise that Dr Kenneth Elliott has been released after more than seven years in captivity in West Africa. Dr Elliott is safe and well and has been reunited with his wife Jocelyn and their children,” Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said in a statement.
“The Australian Government, like the Elliott family, has worked tirelessly toward Dr Elliott’s release,” she added. “We acknowledge the strength and resilience Dr Elliott and members of his family have shown through the most difficult of circumstances.”
The Australian doctor and his wife Jocelyn were kidnapped by a commando of the Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) group in northern Burkina Faso on Jan. 15, 2016.
Since 1972, the couple had operated a clinic in the northeastern town of Djibo, near the border with Niger and Mali.
Three weeks after their abduction, the militants released Jocelyn but had continued to hold the doctor captive until now.
“At 88 years of age, and after many years away from home, Dr Elliott now needs time and privacy to rest and rebuild strength. We thank you for your understanding and sympathy,” the doctor’s family said in the statement.
“We express our relief that Dr Elliott is free and thank the Australian Government and all who have been involved over time to secure his release. We also continue to pray for those still held and wish them freedom and safe return to their loved ones,” it added. EFE