Australian kidnapped in Burkina likely held elsewhere - minister

2016-07-01 15:16
Burkina Faso's Interior Minister Simon Compaore. (Ahmed Ouoba, News24)

Burkina Faso's Interior Minister Simon Compaore. (Ahmed Ouoba, News24)

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Ouagadougou – An elderly Australian man kidnapped by jihadists in Burkina Faso in January is probably being held outside the country, Interior Minister Simon Compaore said on Thursday.

Dr Kenneth Elliott and wife Jocelyn, both in their eighties, were seized in the north of the country, near the Mali and Niger borders. where they had lived for more than four decades and run a medical clinic.

Jocelyn Elliot was released in early February, but her 82-year-old husband has not been seen since.

"We have information on a probable location for Doctor Elliott but it's not in Burkina territory," Compaore told a press conference.

"We have information for people from outside on a probable location and we are working with our exterior friends to verify this information," he added.

Earlier on Thursday, Compaore said that Burkina authorities had arrested 10 people over a jihadist attack on a hotel and cafe in the capital and a separate rampage at a resort in neighbouring Ivory Coast.

The Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) group claimed responsibility for the two strikes.

Until this year, Burkina Faso had largely avoided the attacks and hostage-taking by jihadist groups that have sown terror in other Sahel countries over the past decade.

Compaore said that there was hope that "gradually the noose will tighten on those who have carried out this kidnapping. We do not despair".

The kidnapping of the Australian couple was claimed by the Islamist group Ansar Dine, a Malian mainly Tuareg group.

Originally from Perth, Kenneth Elliott has lived in Burkina Faso since 1972.

After he and his wife were kidnapped, resident of Djibo, the town where they worked, called for their release.

Read more on:    burkina faso  |  west africa

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