Australia: Abducted Australian Dr Ken Elliott released by al-Qaida in Africa following seven-year battle for freedom
By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria
Dr Ken Elliott, the Australian who was kidnapped by an al-Qaida-linked group in Africa in 2016, has been released.
When extremists kidnapped Elliott and his wife, Jocelyn, in Burkina Faso, they were in their 80s. The Perth couple had established a medical clinic in the northern town of Djibo and had been living in the country since 1972.
A few weeks later, the Emirate of the Sahara, which had ties to al-Qaida, released Jocelyn Elliott. It was a “difficult diplomatic situation,” according to Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian prime minister at the time.
Penny Wong, the minister of foreign affairs, stated that Elliott was “safe and well” and had “been reunited with his wife Jocelyn and their children” on Friday morning. She stated that the outcome delighted her greatly.
The Elliott family thanked the government and “all who have been involved over time to secure his release” in a statement, expressing their relief.
“We wish to communicate our gratitude to God and all who have kept on petitioning God for us,” the assertion said.
“We also continue to pray for the people who are still in custody and wish them freedom and a safe return to their loved ones.”
Dr. Elliott, who is 88 years old and has spent a lot of time away from home, needs time alone to rest and regain strength. We appreciate your compassion and understanding.
Jocelyn Elliott pleaded for her husband’s release in 2018, stating that he had “not much longer to live on this Earth.”
Since 2015, a variety of armed groups, including jihadis, have waged a violent insurgency in Burkina Faso.
Wong claimed that the Elliot family and the government had worked tirelessly to secure his release.
She stated, “We acknowledge the strength and resiliency that Dr. Elliott and members of his family have demonstrated through the most difficult of circumstances.”
“We stretch out our gratitude to the Australian authorities who have worked over numerous years to get Dr Elliott’s delivery and to offer help to his loved ones.
We ask that the media honor Dr. Elliott and his family’s request for privacy at this time.
Due to “ongoing civil unrest, high risk of terrorist attacks, kidnapping, and banditry,” the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against traveling to Burkina Faso at all.