Kidnappade seglare släppta i Somalia
Söndagen den 14 november släpptes paret efter att en lösensumma på drygt 2 miljoner kronor (men som enligt andradrygt 2 miljoner kronor) som ska vara insamlade av exilsomalier och parets släkt. De somaliska piraterna har hållit Paul och Rachel fågna på land sedan 22 oktober 2009, alltså mer än ett år sedan.
Från början har paret påpekat att de var pensionärer i en fritidsbåt utan någon förmögenhet och bara en vanlig pension – och därmed inga möjligheter att betala den begärda lösensumman.
Exakt hur förhandlingarna har gått, har ännu inte framkommit men till brittisk press har anhöriga sagt att ”Både Paul och Rachel är på gott humör trots att mycket trött och utmattad av sina erfarenheter.”
Det är fortfarande ovanligt att fritidsbåtar kapas av pirater i trakterna runt Afrikas Horn, men det har skett några tiotal fall som fått en del uppmärksamhet. Området bevakas av bland annat svenska örlogsfartyg, men området är stort och fartyg med värdefull last prioriteras. Pirater i Somalia håller för närvarande ungefär 30 handelsfartyg och över 500 besättningsmän fångna.
STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE FAMILY OF PAUL AND RACHEL CHANDLER on November 14 at 1447 hrs
“Yesterday evening, we received the wonderful news that Paul and Rachel Chandler were to be released by the Somali pirates who had held them in captivity since October 23, 2009.
The videos that were shown on television earlier this year indicated that they were coping with the conditions and were in relatively good health. But we cannot yet be certain how the difficulties that they have had to endure in recent months will have affected them physically and emotionally. We would ask that everyone gives them the opportunity to adjust and return to their families and friends in the days to come.
Throughout the protracted discussions with the pirates it has been a difficult task for the family to get across the message that these were two retired people on a sailing trip on a small private yacht and not part of a major commercial enterprise involving tens of millions of pounds of assets.
Thankfully, common sense finally prevailed and a solution was obtained for their release in the last few days. There will be the inevitable questions of how their release was achieved. The family believes it would be irresponsible to discuss any aspect of the release process as this could encourage others to capture private individuals and demand large ransom payments, something that we are sure none of us wants.
The family would like to thank those in the Somali community especially, both locally, and in the UK, who did so much to help secure their release.
At 0300hrs GMT on 14th November Paul and Rachel began their journey away from the pirates by road. At approximately 0900 hrs (GMT), after a reception organised by the local administration, they boarded a light aircraft on the airstrip at Adado, for the first leg of their journey to Nairobi. They landed in Mogadishu and were taken by convoy to meet the Prime Minister of the TFG (Transitional Federal Government), Mohamed Abdullah Farmajo. This was followed by an onward flight, crossing the Kenyan border to safety and freedom, arriving at 1440 hrs, London time, their ordeal having lasted 388 days.
Both Paul and Rachel are in good spirits although very tired and exhausted by their experience.
They will now both have medical checks in Nairobi, following which they will fly back to the UK.
All family members would like to thank all the media who have respected the injunction for their cooperation and restraint throughout the ordeal of Paul and Rachel and would ask that this spirit of understanding continues while they are reunited with family and friends. The Family will not be making any further statements until they have had an opportunity to talk with Paul and Rachel on their return.
Paul and Rachel have asked us to thank all those around the country who have offered support during their ordeal and the professional advisors who have worked around the clock to secure their release.