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Somali pirates free UK couple Paul and Rachel Chandler

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by X-PASTER, Nov 14, 2010.


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    Nov 14, 2010
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    Somali pirates free UK couple Paul and Rachel Chandler

    Retired UK couple Paul and Rachel Chandler just hours after their release by Somali pirates

    A retired British couple have been released by Somali pirates after being held captive for more than a year.

    Paul, 60, and Rachel Chandler, 56, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, briefly stopped in Adado, central Somalia, en route to Mogadishu, and then Kenya.

    Mrs Chandler said: "I'm enjoying being free". The couple appeared to be in good health.

    Pirates boarded their yacht near the Seychelles on 23 October 2009. The BBC has held off reporting their release.

    It observed the terms of an injuction obtained by the Chandlers' family which was intended to stop news organisations reporting their release until they were safely out of Somalia.

    The couple are now reported to be under the protection of the self-proclaimed administration of Himan and Heeb.

    Reports say they have been given mobile phones to allow them to contact relatives and friends in the UK.

    Mrs Chandler, speaking before the flight to Nairobi, Kenya, said: "I'm fine... I'm enjoying being free, although we're still in Somalia.

    "The niceities of how we've been kept... are not terribly important. But we are delighted now that we are in the process of being freed and we hope to be out of Somalia, as I said, later in the day."

    In Mogadishu, Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed met the couple and said the government was pleased they had been freed.

    He said the government had "exerted every humanly possible effort to bring you back to your loved ones."

    It is not clear if any ransom was paid to secure the couple's release.

    In June the couple asked Prime Minister David Cameron whether he was willing to negotiate with the kidnappers.

    But the Foreign Office said at the time that the UK government's policy of "not making or facilitating substantive concessions to hostage-takers, including the payment of ransoms, is long-standing and clear".

    Earlier this year their captors threatened to kill the couple if their demands for $7m (£4.4m) were not met.