Ken Elliott, an 88-year-old Australian hostage, has been released by al-Qaeda extremists.
An 88-year-old Australian doctor who had been kept captive by al-Qaeda extremists in West Africa for more than seven years has been freed.
Dr. Kenneth Elliott is safe and healthy, having been reunited with his family, according to Australia’s foreign minister.
In 2016, he and his wife were apprehended near the border between Burkina Faso and Mali, where they had run a clinic for nearly 40 years.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed to have kidnapped the couple at the time.
Following public criticism and what it characterized as “guidance” from its superiors, the gang released his wife, Jocelyn, after three weeks.
“At 88 years old and after being away from home for many years, Dr Elliott now requires time and privacy to rest and rebuild strength.” “We appreciate your compassion and sympathy,” his family wrote in a statement.
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong praised Dr Elliott and his family for their strength “in the most trying of circumstances.”
“We express our gratitude to Australian officials who have worked tirelessly over many years to secure Dr Elliott’s release and provide support to his family,” she added in a statement.