Kidnapped British couple "need urgent help"

Monday, February 1, 2010

The coast of Somalia is one of the most dangerous bodies of water in the world.

A British couple kidnapped by Somali pirates last October require urgent help, according to AFP. Rachel and Paul Chandler, who were sailing to Tanzania from the Seychelles in their yacht when they were captured by pirates, told an AFP reporter that they did "are being badly treated". The photographer for the news agency was accompanying a surgeon, Mohamed Helmi Hangul, who was permitted to visit the couple briefly on Thursday.

The couple have been separated from each other, and are suffering signs of stress. The wife is suffering from insomnia and is "mentally unwell" and "disorientated". "I'm old, I'm 56 and my husband is 60 years old. We need to be together because we have not much time left," she said.

The pirates responsible have threatened to execute the couple if their demands for a $7m ransom are not met. However, the British Foreign Office say that they will not pay any ransoms or "substantial concessions" to pirates. In a statement, the British Foreign Office said that they "remain in regular contact with the family and are providing support". They are calling for the "safe and swift release" of the couple.