Hostage couple thanks government

2012-06-27 21:04
Debbie Calitz (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Debbie Calitz (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg – Debbie Calitz, rescued with her partner Bruno Pelizzari from Somali pirates, has thanked the government for “not giving up on us”.

The couple received an emotional homecoming at OR Tambo Internationao Airport on Wednesday after being "treated worse than animals" while in captivity for 20 months.

The couple was sailing off the coast of Kenya in October 2010 when their yacht was hijacked by 12 pirates who set course for Somalia and took the couple ashore at Baraawe.

Calitz told reporters during a tearful media conference: “Some of the conditions weren't very humane. We were treated like untouchables.

"We weren't fed very well and we were handcuffed permanently, all the time, 24 hours.

“We weren't allowed to bathe much and we weren't allowed luxuries which meant no soap.

“Between us we had 1½ litres of water a day, which was for the toilet as well. 

“It was just terrible."

Somali authorities on Thursday last week said the pair had been freed in a joint raid by security forces and the army from "al-Qaeda-affiliated" insurgents, with South Africa saying Italy was also involved.

It is not clear if a ransom was paid for the couple's release with Calitz saying that she believed it was a rescue operation.

"It was between the Somali government and the Italian government, they were the ones that worked together to help us...to be rescued.

“We were rescued, as far as we know, we were kept in the dark so we don't know very much," she said.

Hitting out at their captors, Calitz said: “We've got to let it out in the public so these people can stop what they're doing.

“ They've got no right to do what they do to people."

Foreign minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said the three governments had worked together in what was a "very very difficult mission".




Read more on:    deborah calitz  |  maite nkoana-mashabane  |  bruno pelizzari  |  somalia  |  south africa  |  somali pirates  |  good news
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