All Blogs

Seven Years An Al-Qaeda Captive



“I’m already giving you all I can,” was his reply to a man begging at the house. As a young doctor, I was with SIM in the world’s very poorest nation: Burkina Faso, West Africa. It was Ken Elliot speaking, an Australian physician living and serving in Burkina since 1972. In his austere, desert town of Djibo were many children, like the one I photographed below, so weak and malnourished they could not swallow and required a feeding tube for re-nutrition. Also common in Djibo were adults with kidney stones and renal failure, all connected with blazing temperatures, and short supply of drinking water.




In 2016, after four decades working in isolation, serving Jesus, and the little ones whom He loves, Ken Elliot and his wife Joyce were kidnaped by a group aligned with al-Qaida. Joyce was released just a few weeks later, but “The fact that he is a missionary, as I understand it, is not going to be good. [The kidnappers] will tend to see that as being not so much the good works he’s been doing since the 70s for the local people, but as being a missionary spreading the word of Christianity. So that will not be good for them,” wrote one counterterrorism expert.


Then miraculously, on May 18, after seven years without a word and presumed dead, 88-year-old Ken Elliott was suddenly released from captivity. Australian foreign affairs minister Penny Wong that Elliott was “safe and well.” The Elliott family wrote to thank the government and “all who have been involved over time to secure his release”. They continued, “We wish to express our thanks to God and all who have continued to pray for us,” and “We also continue to pray for those still held and wish them freedom and safe return to their loved ones.”


Become familiar with the Elliott’s vision and ministry in West Africa by partaking of this three-minute interview:



Scroll to Top