Freed hostages to visit family first

2012-06-26 00:00

DURBANITES may have to wait a little longer for the homecoming of Debbie Calitz and Bruno Pelizzari, who were freed in Somalia last week after being held hostage for 20 months.

Vera Hecht, Pelizzari’s sister who handled negotiations with their captors, yesterday told The Witness they were not sure when the pair would return to Durban.

“We are still in Italy. We will be leaving tomorrow and land in South Africa on Wednesday [tomorrow]. Because we have family in Johannesburg we will be staying with them for a few days and only then will we be in Durban.”

She said Calitz’s children had unexpectedly arrived in Italy.

“Debbie’s daughters, Kerri-Ann Cross and Jackie and her son Jason just arrived and they are so happy to see them. “But we will have some difficulties arranging to travel back as the number has increased from four to seven after the arrival of the children.”

Even Pelizzari’s mother, Francesca, would join the family in South Africa.

Tributes and words of gratitude have been posted by friends and family on the SOS Bruno and Debbie Facebook page. Postings included one by Colin Abbood who wrote, “Bring them home soon, I miss them all too much!” and one by Moira Ball said, “Vera you are an awesome Woman”.

The pair were held just 40 km from the Somali capital of Mogadishu in an Al-Shabaab facility before they were freed.

They were taken hostage in October 2010 after armed Somali pirates hijacked their yacht as it was about to enter the Mozambique channel.

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