The group has claimed responsibility for the January 15 kidnapping of two Australians in northern Burkina Faso, according to an audio statement.
The statement, released on the Telegram channel of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, also said the group had decided to release one of the captives – a woman – unconditionally.
Former Perth couple Dr Ken Elliott and his wife Jocelyn were abducted following an attack on the Burkina Faso capital of Ouagadougou by suspected Islamic extremists that killed 28 people.
The couple, aged in their 80s, moved to Burkina Faso in 1972 to set up a medical clinic in the town of Djibo in the country’s north.
Dr Elliott performed 150 surgical operations a month in the Djibo hospital he designed and built, according to a 2013 Global Business Services newsletter.
He is the sole surgeon at the clinic and has spoken in the past about the significant need for modern medicine in the West Africa.
“The primary motive behind their kidnapping was an attempt to (gain) release of our captives who sit behind bars and suffer the pain of imprisonment, as well as being deprived of their basic rights,” the recording by the al-Mourabitoun branch said.
The group said it was releasing the woman under public pressure and in accordance with what it said was guidance from al-Qaeda leaders not to involve women in war.
The Elliot family thanked the public for their support.
“To those who are holding our parents, we bear no malice against you,” the family said.
“Our parents are good people who always seek to help those in need.”
The community would be grateful if they were returned to continue their life’s work of helping the poor and the sick, the family said.
February 6, 2016 | AAP | Source: au.news.yahoo.com | "Kidnapped former Perth woman to be freed" | The West Australian