Aussie Missionaries Kidnapped by al Qaeda
The family of an Australian missionary couple kidnapped by al Qaeda in Burkina Faso over the weekend says they do not know why the couple was abducted or where they were taken.
Family members of Dr. Ken Elliot and his wife Jocelyn released that statement Sunday. The couple are in their 80s.
The two began hospital work in Djibo in 1972 and operate a surgical clinic with 120 beds, where Dr. Elliot is the sole surgeon to some 2 million people in the region and is supported by local staff.
"Our ultimate aim is to show the love of God and the goodness and power of Him through medicine," Elliott said on a previous occasion.
But Agence France-Press reports that at 4 a.m. on Saturday, al Qaeda-linked extremists dragged the Elliott's from their beds at their home near Baraboule.
Authorities do not know if the abductions are linked to the attack on the country's capital Ouagadougou by al Qaeda fighters on Friday night that left 28 people dead, including American missionary Mike Riddering.
A spokeman for the Elliot's family said in a statement that "recent news from the country indicates an alleged abduction of Ken and Jocelyn on Friday night, however no reason is yet given for this and their whereabouts is still unknown."
"They have dedicated their lives to providing medical relief to people in the remote northern area of Burkina Faso," the statement said.
It added that their commitment to the local people is reflected in the fact that they have continued there with only a few holidays since 1972.
"They are held in high esteem by the local people," it said.
Meanwhile, people in Burkina Faso are campaiging for the release of the couple. They have set up a Facebook page called Djibo Supports Dr Ken Elliot to describe the impact he and his wife have had on the town.