Hostage couple thanks government

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

Debbie Calitz (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

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 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

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Amazing solar inventions!

Solar power is lighting up the world, and not just on rooftops anymore.



Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa
China's air pollution at doomsday levels

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

There is a tendency to get too caught up in group dynamics and high expectations and ideals, that your own personal needs more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.