Suspected Islamic extremists kidnapped an elderly missionary couple in northern Burkina Faso on the same day al-Qaeda launched a deadly attack in the country's capital, Ouagadougou, killing 28 people, including a Christian orphanage director.
According to a BBC report, Ken and Jocelyn Elliott, who are Australian and in their 80s, were abducted on Friday by the al-Qaeda-linked Emirate of the Sahara group. The report notes that thus far, no reason for the abduction has yet been given and the couple's whereabouts are unknown, Australia's foreign ministry said.
At the time of their abduction, the couple were running a 120-bed clinic in the town of Dijbo, where Dr. Elliot is the only surgeon.
"Our ultimate aim is to show the love of God and the goodness and power of Him through medicine," said Elliott of his work on a previous occasion, Christian Today notes.
Thousands of locals in Djibo have started a social media campaign to call for the release of Dr. Elliot -- who many refer to as "dear dad" -- and his wife.
"Elliott is all for us and we need him like a baby needs his mother," wrote resident Moussa Dicko.
"Elliott is a Burkinabe and a humane person," said Francois Ramde. "He represents the best of humanity."
"Make sure that we pray for the liberation of Dr. Elliot and his wife.. As the problem is bigger than us, entrust it to the Almighty," added another.
"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," wrote Roots Hassane.
Experts suggest the Elliots may have been taken across the border into Mali, and diplomats are expecting a ransom request to be made.
Also on Friday, al Qaeda fighters opened fire at a cafe in the country's capital, killing at least 28 people from at least 18 countries, including American missionary Mike Riddering.
According to CNN, Riddering had moved halfway across the world with his wife to run an orphanage, Wings of Refuge, and women's crisis center, and had adopted two children in Burkina Faso.
"Every week, Mike would go out and feed the widows in the surrounding villages," said Brant Brooks, who knew Riddering for three years, in an interview with Fox News.
"He would bring them grains and cooking oil and anything else they might need," added Brooks, who also adopted a son from Riddering's orphanage.
In a Facebook post, Amy Riddering remembered her husband's passion for caring for others and sharing the Gospel.
"Heaven has gained a warrior! I know God has a purpose in all things but sometimes it is a complete mystery to me," she posted.
"My best friend, partner in crime and love of my life. The best husband ever. ... My heart is so heavy and I am having trouble believing he is gone...Mike was an example in the way he lived and loved. God be glorified! Mike Riddering I will love you always! You left quite a legacy here. I can only imagine the adventures you are having now."