According to ABC News Australia, Niger’s president, Mahamadou Issoufou, has announced the freeing, on Feb. 6, 2016, of an Australian woman after her kidnapping in Burkina Faso last month.
The announcement was made after authorities were able to end her ordeal, which started on Jan. 15. The woman’s husband is still in the kidnapper’s hands, but Issoufou assured the press that everything is being done to find and free him. The woman and her husband have resided in Burkina Faso, where they managed their own medical clinic, since 1972. Their abduction took place after an attack on their residence by Islamic extremists.
Issoufou had vowed on Jan. 25 to do all that is in his power to free the couple, who were abducted by a militant group linked to Al-Qaeda. The couple had devoted themselves for 40 years to the service of their community. They were kidnapped near the Niger border, which prompted Niger’s authorities to take it upon themselves to free the couple.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic region of Maghreb (AQIM) released an audio statement last Saturday claiming responsibility for the abduction. They also say that the release of the woman was unconditional, because they do not want to involve women in their ongoing struggle against tyranny.
The woman’s family in Australia does not know whether she will be returning to Australia any time soon.
By M. Hannouf
Edited by Jeanette Smith
ABC News Australia: Burkina Faso Kidnapping: Australian woman released by Al Qaeda, President of Niger says
Yahoo News: Burkina president vows to do “all possible” for kidnapped Australian pair
Reuters: Australian woman freed after kidnap by al Qaeda in Burkina Faso
itv News: Australian woman kidnapped in Burkina Faso is freed
Image Courtesy of U.S. Institute of Peace’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License