Australian hostage Jocelyn Elliott is shown with Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou after her release.
Niger Government/Niger Government
Australian hostage Jocelyn Elliott is shown with Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou after her release.

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The Australian couple worked at a clinic in Burkina Faso

Authorities in Burkina Faso and neighboring Niger helped secure her freedom

(CNN) —  

An al Qaeda linked militant group claims it is holding an Australian doctor and his wife who were abducted last month in Burkina Faso.

Jocelyn Elliott and her husband, Dr. Ken Elliott, were seized by al Qaeda-linked militants on January 15.

The couple worked at a clinic in the northern town of Djibo, near the border with Mali. They provided surgical services in Burkina Faso for more than four decades, according to relatives.

Authorities in Burkina Faso and neighboring Niger helped secure her freedom, her family said in a statement through Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs.

“The Elliott family are deeply grateful for the safe release of our mother, Jocelyn,” the statement said. “We wish to convey our great appreciation to authorities in Niger and Burkina Faso for their support and assistance.”

The family said it hopes those holding Ken Elliott will let him go as well.

“We are trusting that the moral and guiding principles of those who have released our mother will also be applied to our elderly father,” they said.

The Burkinabe President mentioned the kidnapping during a January 16 national televised speech that mostly addressed a terror attack that unfolded in the capital Ouagadougou earlier that day.

The President said he ordered security forces to launch efforts to find the pair. Al-Mourabitoun also claimed responsibility for the Ouagadougou attack, which killed 29 people and targeted a luxury hotel as well as two other locations.

Last week, the group said it plans to release Jocelyn Elliott because it does “not target women in times of war.”

CNN’s Mayra Cuevas contributed to this report