Pirate Hostages To Be Freed In ‘Two Weeks’..

Halkaan ka akhri

A retired British couple being held by pirates in Somalia may be freed within a fortnight, a senior Somali official has said.

The couple say they are in ill health and are being poorly looked after.

Deputy parliamentary speaker Mohamed Omar Dalha said there would be an “unconditional release” of Paul and Rachel Chandler.

The pirates had been demanding £5m since capturing the couple, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, off the coast of east Africa four months ago.

Mr Dalha, the deputy speaker of Somalia’s parliament, said parties inside and outside Somalia had been working for the Chandlers’ release.

“We are hopeful that the British couple will be released as soon as possible without condition,” he said.

The British Government has insisted it will not pay a ransom to the kidnappers.

However, it is rare for hostages to be released without payment.

The couple were seen in a video last month in which they said they were both in poor health and had been separated from each other.

Mr Chandler, 58, is reported to be suffering from a serious eye infection while Mrs Chandler, 55, is said to be “skeletal”.

They describe their treatment by the pirates as “cruel”.

Shipping off the coast of east Africa is a regular target for pirates looking to earn money from ransom payments.

The Chandlers are among about 130 sailors held hostage in Somalia.

Source: SKY


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