News24

Hostage couple thanks government

2012-06-27 21:04

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".




Comments
  • lynda.pitcher.1 - 2012-06-27 22:12

    yes please don't turn this into another political diatribe, thanks to everyone who freed them from a bunch of crooks, they did nothing wrong!

  • lephans.lufuno - 2012-06-27 22:16

    Thumb up indeed for the job well done by SA govt led by ANC.

      Gaby - 2012-06-27 22:29

      Yes!

      Keg - 2012-06-28 11:25

      From the interview o the news this morning seems like it was only Somali and Italian government that did something ANC trying to take glory. Why did it take 20 Months for reaction???

  • kumbirai.thembani - 2012-06-27 22:28

    The somali pirates continue to terorise the african waters unabatted. There is need to fast-track peace to restore the rule of law, by setting a government in somali.this needs to be treated as a matter or urgency !

  • mncedisimagebe.sibula - 2012-06-28 06:15

    thanx to the goverment to help the couple to freed on this dangerouse somali pirates

  • annie.apple.1042 - 2012-06-28 06:42

    SA didn’t pay ransom for the couple!Our government, yes the ANC did not help free the couple! They didn't even Try! So Thank goodness for the Italian and Somali authorities that took the time and resources to save and free this couple!

  • Thando Tdoz Kubheka - 2012-06-28 06:51

    ei annie just shut up the important thing is that these people made it back home. don't you get tired for always pointing fingers at other people even if it is not necessary. just b happy for these people and their families its not about anc but for the safe return of these people now just shut.

  • Thando Tdoz Kubheka - 2012-06-28 06:53

    people for once leave the political parties out of this no come grow up and just be happy for these people.

      julian.booyens - 2012-06-28 07:28

      Thando, you are been ignorant if this is not a political issue! Yes we are all greatfull that they have returned safely to their families but I feel that it should have not taking nearly 2 years

      UncleShep - 2012-06-28 09:44

      knock it off julian!

  • Thobile Lugwadu - 2012-06-28 07:25

    Is news24 a forum for all embittered rogue elements in our country? Cant you people comment on the story being reported without insults?

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