The family of two Australians kidnapped by extremists in Burkina Faso have pleaded for their release as they express gratitude for messages of support from Australia and internationally.

CANBERRA, (Australia) — The family of an Australian doctor and his wife abducted in Burkina Faso have urged the kidnappers to release the couple so that they can continue their life-saving charity work in the West African country.

Dr Ken Elliott and his wife Jocelyn are believed to have been abducted by suspected Islamist extremists following an attack on the Burkina Faso capital of Ouagadougou last week that killed 28 people.

A statement on behalf of their daughter and two sons issued by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Tuesday said the children had been heartened by an outpouring of support from the Burkinabe people “who clearly consider Ken and Jocelyn to be one of their own after all these years of providing surgical services to the region.”

Their family issued a statement on Tuesday through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with a message to their captors – treat the couple kindly and free them in the name of peace.

“They are understandably deeply dismayed by this incident and sincerely hope that their parents are being treated kindly wherever they are,” the statement read.

“The Elliotts would urge those who have taken Ken and Jocelyn to strive constructively for peace to the benefit of all people in the region and release their parents safe and sound so that they may continue to assist those who are in need of their services.”

“The Elliotts have been particularly heartened by the tremendous support of the Burkinable people who clearly consider Ken and Jocelyn to be one of their own after all these years of providing surgicval services to the region,” the family stated.

“The family would like to urge the Burkinabe people to continue to show patience as they share in our feelings of loss at this time.

We also want to extend our sympathy to the victims of the recent tragedy in Ougadougou and to the people of Burkina Faso as they mourn.”

The heartfelt statement comes after hundreds of people in Burkina Faso have called for the release of the Elliotts.

The West Australian couple, aged in their 80s, moved to Burkina Faso in 1972 to set up a medical clinic in the town of Djibo in the country’s north.

A Facebook page called Djibo soutient Dr Ken Elliott (Djibo supports Dr Ken Elliot) has attracted numerous comments expressing hope for the couple’s release.

“I am hopeful that they will come back to us healthy,” said one post.

“We love you very much and pray for your release. God bless you and give you the strength needed for us to come back in good health,” said another comment.