Kindapped Christian Doctor, 88, Freed After Seven Years’ Captivity

An Australian Christian doctor in his 80s has been freed from captivity after he was kidnapped in Burkina Faso seven years ago.

Ken Elliot, 88, was released on Friday, May 19 after he and his wife Jocelyn were taken by extremists from Djibo, a town in the north of the West African nation, on January 15, 2016.

Jocelyn was released in February 2016, a month after the abduction.

Dr. Elliott and his wife Jocelyn had opened a 120-bed clinic in Djibo, Soum Province, where he worked as a full-time surgeon, offering free medical care to local Burkinabe for over 40 years until the couple’s abduction.

The couple’s kidnapping was claimed by the ‘Emirate of the Sahara’, a branch of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). 

In 2018 Jocelyn Elliot posted a public plea for her husband’s release, saying: “May peace be with you and your families. I am grateful to those who decided to release me unconditionally in February 2016. Dr Elliott is living his last years and I ask you to release him too.

“My husband did not have an easy and comfortable life: 46 years ago, he chose to raise his family among you, our friends and our neighbours. With God’s help, he performed thousands of operations and saved many lives. Those who asked for help often came from afar, they came to us at any time of day or night.”

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong confirmed Dr Elliott had been released “safe and well” and had been “reunited with his wife Jocelyn and their children”.

“I am very pleased to advise that Dr Ken Elliott who has been held hostage in western Africa for some seven years has been reunited in Australia with his family,” she said.

“The Australian government has been working tirelessly over that time to secure his release and I want to publicly thank all of the government officials who have worked to ensure Dr Elliott’s release.”

In a statement, she added:

 We acknowledge the strength and resilience Dr Elliott and members of his family have shown through the most difficult of circumstances.

The family has not spoken to the media but issued a statement via the Foreign Minister’s office. 

“We wish to express our thanks to God and all who have continued to pray for us,” they said.

“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.”

Written by: Ben Cohen

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