People of Djibo, a small town in Burkina Faso, West Africa, organised a rally calling for the release of an Australian couple to have been abducted from Baraboule on Sunday. The couple had been running a medical clinic in Baraboule for decades.
The elderly couple, Ken Elliot and Jocelyn, were allegedly kidnapped by an extremist group connected to Al Qaeda on Sunday from Baraboule, a town near the country’s border with Mali and Niger, according to the Daily Nation. The medical facility run by the couple in Djibo has 120 beds, with Elliot being the only surgeon.
The locals in Djibo posted a message on Facebook that said, “The patients of the hospital of Dr Elliot, distressed at the kidnapping and in view of the duration of his detention, envisages public demonstrations.”
It added, “We are calling upon all of the citizens and governments of the international community to undertake actions necessary for the liberation of Dr #Elliot.”
The message on Facebook followed the rally which was attended by hundreds of students in Khaki uniforms, holding placards that read, “Free Elliot.” The students hit the roads along with their teachers, asking for the couple’s release.
The page, titled “Djibo backs Dr Ken Elliot,” is already supported by 4,200 followers who posted pictures of the doctor at his clinic and left messages from his friends and family members.
The 9 News reported that Nigel Brennan, an Australian who spent 15 months as a hostage in Somalia, said very few people die in captivity.
“Something like 96 percent of people come out alive,” he said.
The family of the Australian couple also pleaded for their release and thanked those who showed support.
“The Elliott family wish to express their gratitude for the messages of encouragement they have been receiving from around Australia and abroad during this difficult time,” the ABC quoted a family spokesman as saying in a statement issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
“The Elliotts have been particularly heartened by the tremendous support of the Burkinabe people who clearly consider Ken and Jocelyn to be one of their own after all these years of providing surgical services to the region. The family would like to urge the Burkinabe people to continue to show patience as they share in our feelings of loss at this time.”