Woman kidnapped by militants in Burkina Faso freed

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Militants have freed an Australian woman who was kidnapped alongside her husband last month in Burkina Faso, dumping her in neighbouring Niger.

Jocelyn Elliot and her husband, who are in their 80s, were abducted in Djibo near the border with Mali.

The couple had provided medical services in the town since the 1970s.

Al-Qaeda linked militants claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, saying it was an attempt to secure the release of imprisoned fighters, a jihadist monitoring group said.

The group, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), said in an audio recording that it would release Mrs. Elliot so as “not to make women involved in the war”, according to a translation made by the SITE Intelligence organisation.

Efforts to free her husband are still ongoing, according to Niger’s presidential spokesperson.

Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed that the Australian government had been in contact with Mrs Elliott following her release.

The couple were kidnapped on the same day as a deadly attack on a hotel in the Burkina Faso capital Ouagadougou, which was also claimed by AQIM.

In response, local people in Djibo launched a social media campaign calling for their release.

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