SA welcomes kidnapped couple's safe return from Somalia

Bruno Pelizzari and Deborah Calitz a few hours after they were released by their captors in Mogadishu. (AP)

Bruno Pelizzari and Deborah Calitz a few hours after they were released by their captors in Mogadishu. (AP)

“The couple was released unharmed and is receiving consular support from the South African mission to Somalia, which is based in Nairobi, Kenya,” said international relations spokesperson Nelson Kgwete on Thursday.
 
“Arrangements are being made for the return of the couple to South Africa.”
 
He said South Africa’s ambassador to Somalia, Ndumiso Ntshinga, was in contact with the couple, Deborah Calitz and Bruno Pelizzari.
 
Somalian authorities had confirmed that they were in good health and eager to be reunited with their loved ones.
 
The pair was kidnapped in October 2010 from a yacht off the south-east coast of Africa. Their pirate captors originally demanded a ransom of $10-million.
 
The Associated Press reported that the couple was among the longest-held hostages by pirates.
 
At a press conference in Somalia’s presidential palace in Mogadishu, Calitz and Pelizzari smiled but appeared exhausted, AP said.
 
“We are very happy to get our freedom again,” Calitz said. “We are so happy today to join our families again.”
 
Somalia’s defence minister Hussein Arab Isse credited Somalia’s security forces with helping secure the couple’s release but he did not say whether the pair had been rescued.
He also declined to say if a ransom was paid. – Sapa

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