The families of a South African couple taken hostage by pirates in Somalia 19 months ago have received confirmation they are still alive.
Vera Hecht, sister of Bruno Pelizzari, who is being held hostage with his girlfriend Debbie Calitz, recently sent the pirates a list of questions to which only her brother would know the answers, the Beeld reported on Thursday.
“That’s all we know: they’re alive, but we don’t know what condition they’re in, or where they’re being held,” Hecht was quoted saying.
The couple have been passed between different groups a few times.
“The bad news is that the man with whom we’ve negotiated up until now has been replaced, with a more radical negotiator. He turned down our last ransom offer,” she said.
The pirates initially demanded $4-million. The family had thus far only collected a fraction of that amount.
Calitz and Pelizzari were taken hostage on October 26 2010 on a yacht in the Mozambique channel. — Sapa