People in Burkina Faso have started a campaign for the release of an Australian doctor and his wife who were kidnapped the same day as the deadly attacks on the capital Ouagadougou.
The pair, named as Ken and Jocelyn Elliott, are said to have dedicated their lives to improving medical facilities in the impoverished nation.
The couple, who are both in their 80’s are from Perth, and have helped to build medical facilities, Djibo just 45km from the Mali border, since the 1970s. The couple ran a 120-bed clinic in the town where Ken was the only doctor.
Locals have started a Facebook page where they have been posting messages of support.
Entitled “Djibo supports Dr Ken Elliot” a number of heart-felt messages have been left by residents of the town.
The Facebook page says Dr Elliott’s “numerous patients are waiting for him”. Another post read: “Elliott is all for us and we need him like a baby needs his mother,” by resident Moussa Dicko.
Another resident, Roots Hassane, said: “Let the name of God not be used in connection with this ignoble act because it was God who sent Elliott to us and will bring him back.”
It is unclear if their abduction is related to Friday’s deadly al-Qaeda attack in Ouagadougou.
Burkina Faso’s government says 28 people were killed and a further 56 injured in the attack, which targeted two hotels and a cafe frequented by foreign nationals. Six of the dead were from Canada.
Hamadou Ag Khallini, a spokesperson for Malian militant group Ansar Dine, told Australian media that the al Qaeda-linked Emirate of the Sahara group were holding the couple.
No reason has been given for the abduction and the couple’s whereabouts are unknown, Australia’s foreign ministry said.