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News > Australia

Kidnapped Australian Doctor Freed After 7 Years

  • Kenneth Elliott. May. 19, 2023.

    Kenneth Elliott. May. 19, 2023. | Photo: Twitter/@HostageAid

Published 19 May 2023

“We extend our thanks to the Australian officials who have worked over many years to secure Dr Elliott’s release..."

The Australian government has officially announced the safe release and return of an 88-year-old Australian physician who was held captive in West Africa for more than seven years.


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According to a statement released by Australia Foreign Minister Penny Wong on Friday, Kenneth Elliott, a resident of Perth located on the West Coast, has been confirmed as being in good health and has been successfully reunited with his wife, Jocelyn, as well as their children.

“We extend our thanks to the Australian officials who have worked over many years to secure Dr Elliott’s release and to provide support to his family,” Wong said.

In January 2016, Elliott and his wife were kidnapped by rebel fighters in the northern region of Burkina Faso, proximate to the bordering states of Mali and Niger, where they had operated a 120-bed medical clinic for more than 40 years; after three weeks of their kidnap, Jocelyn Elliott was freed.

According to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Jocelyn was released without any conditions due to the influence of public opinion and direction from leaders to avoid involving women in warfare.

“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,” said the Elliott family.

“We ask that the media respect their wishes at this time,” said Wong when asking for privacy for the family.

Furthermore, the family gave thanks to the Australian government when 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.”

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