News24

SA hostages in Somalia still alive

2012-05-10 10:34

Johannesburg - The families of a South African couple taken hostage by pirates in Somalia 19 months ago have received confirmation they are still alive, Beeld reported on Thursday.

Vera Hecht, sister of Bruno Pelizzari, who is being held hostage with his girlfriend Debbie Calitz, recently sent the pirates a list of questions to which only her brother would know the answers.

"That's all we know: they're alive, but we don't know what condition they're in, or where they're being held," Hecht was quoted saying.

The couple have been passed between different groups a few times.

"The bad news is that the man with whom we've negotiated up until now has been replaced, with a more radical negotiator. He turned down our last ransom offer," she said.

The pirates initially demanded $4m. The family had thus far only collected a fraction of that amount.

Calitz and Pelizzari were taken hostage on October 26, 2010 on a yacht in the Mozambique channel.

Comments
  • rbphiri - 2012-05-10 10:48

    This is good news, but we need to beef up our marine to curb the surge in piracy which pose a threat to maritime security. Sadly our marine can not intervene in the matter since a country without political stability and signs of democracy is out of their jurisdiction and our foreign policy is flawed; I know we can not negotiate with terrorists, but these are south african lives at stake.

      kingsleyb - 2012-05-10 11:34

      There is a fundraiser happening in Jozi on the 25 May at Scarlet Ribbon in Edenvale. We are doing a Comedy Bash to raise more money for the family. Tickets are R150 pp, go to www.strictlytickets.com or call 082 553 5903 to get your tickets. Comedians making us laugh on the evening are: Mel Miller, Al Prodgers, Tony D King, John Vlismas

      Ayanda Opportunist Mabilane - 2012-05-10 12:04

      this glorify that the SA government don't prioritize the safety of its citizen

      eric.vanvuuren - 2012-05-10 12:22

      Where are these Self-righteous politicians of ours? Dogs all of them they fail us so readily they are useless. Talking about being useless, look at this excuse of a military.

      Martin - 2012-05-10 12:38

      The Recces of old would have had them back 18 months and two weeks ago.

  • Michael - 2012-05-10 10:55

    Really encouraging to see the efforts being made by the South African government to bring these citizens home

      MeAgain - 2012-05-10 11:27

      Sorry, I missed that... which efforts from goverment? All I know of is that the family is trying to get them back and have been raising money.

      Ursula - 2012-05-10 11:34

      Michael the family have had very little help from the government. It has all been done on their own steam and fund raising!

      daniele.zanato - 2012-05-10 12:07

      @meagain @Ursula, Yes I think that Michael's point and the sarcasm dripping from it has been totally missed.

      Lucy - 2012-05-10 12:22

      once again only in africa....instead of worrying about stupid arms and the imaginery attacks on south africa - lets get real and worry about the attacks from these greedy swine bandit pirates and let the government spend the money on protecting its citizens in the future and bringing these people home.

      kingsleyb - 2012-05-10 13:17

      I think Michael was being sarcastic people.

  • Tee - 2012-05-10 10:56

    Bloody somalian agents!

  • Khomotjo - 2012-05-10 11:02

    Held hostage for 19 months?That's like almost two years hope they find them alive!

  • Piet - 2012-05-10 11:03

    In the Old SADF days two Reccies might have solved this problem....

      donovan.hendricks.7 - 2012-05-10 11:30

      Not a truer word spoken Piet,u still remember the the new SANDF losing 7 soldiers in record time during the Lesotho invasions some time ago,indeed no school as the old school.

      Dawood - 2012-05-10 12:02

      But did the old SADF,like the US DEFENCE FORCE, honestly tell they're ppl how many soldiers were lost.MAKES U THINK!!!

  • Bibi - 2012-05-10 11:04

    Do we not have any intelligence on the ground? Our SANDF can fetch them in the middle of the night, just zoop over in one of our Air force craft who does nothing but fly by-passes for the ministers, drop a couple of intelligence agents and pick them up again. Ask any ex-recce to do it, they have been all over Africa in recent years and have good contacts. Worth a try at least.

      Piet - 2012-05-10 11:08

      Sending in a couple of Reccies will violate the pirate's human rights.

      MeAgain - 2012-05-10 11:29

      These guys move around a lot. Nobody knows where they are at any given moment. If a camp is attacked by people looking for them and they are not there the bastards will kill the hostages.

  • Sango - 2012-05-10 11:13

    why don't we send the army there to get them. See why i like the american army they can be dictating at times. But when it come to what belongs to them they go and take it back. How can you negotiate for almost two year the government must do something.

      Piet - 2012-05-10 11:35

      We do not have those capabilities any more. I believe that it is so bad that parts get stolen of from Ratels to be sold for scrap....

      darrylv - 2012-05-10 11:42

      Ever watched Black Hawk Down? That's what happens when you send America army in to lawless Somalia. They will just get their asses kicked, besides...these guys are out at see, like looking for a needle in a hay stack

      En - 2012-05-10 13:34

      PIET...What do you mean don't have them anymore? Special Forces training in South Africa never stopped, and the standard is still the same (if you know some of the private instructors used for specialist training, they'll tell you the same). It was a special forces unit that rescued a crew of hostages last year during that hold-up off the coast of Cape Town. Of course people won't remember that because we tend to filter out any positive news. Problem in Somalia is it's distance from SA, its neighbours are just as bad, there are hundreds of people being held hostage in hundreds of locations. The Navy Seal team that rescued the Americans were just lucky as to the location of the operation (easy in, easy out). There are plenty hostages from European countries rotting in Somalia, because an attempted rescue by their governments would probably end up getting them killed.

      Bibi - 2012-05-11 07:48

      @En: Luck had nothing to do with the American rescue operation. It was planned well in advance from the neighbouring countries. From intelligence inside Somalia, neighbouring countries right up to US government.

  • Sango - 2012-05-10 11:14

    why don't we send the army there to get them. See why i like the american army they can be dictating at times. But when it come to what belongs to them they go and take it back. How can you negotiate for almost two year the government must do something.

      Dhavandran - 2012-05-10 12:13

      they are scared to upset their so-called foreign policies. bunch of wussies.

  • tahra.holloway - 2012-05-10 11:24

    There is a fundraiser happening in Jozi on the 25 May at Scarlet Ribbon in Edenvale. We are doing a Comedy Bash to raise more money for the family. Tickets are R150 pp, go to www.strictlytickets.com or call 082 553 5903 to get your tickets. Comedians making us laugh on the evening are: Mel Miller, Al Prodgers, Tony D King, John Vlismas

  • Dhavandran - 2012-05-10 12:10

    the govt should use monies from the fines they impose on companies for price fixing to help in situations like this. i don't see the fines being used for health,infrastructure and education. gordhan gives it to his masters and the taxpayer foots the bill for NHI, e-tolls etc. wheres the justice?

      Lucy - 2012-05-10 12:26

      its for weddings for people with many wives and their kids...not for peasants like us and the hostages!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Martin - 2012-05-10 12:22

    what is the government doing about this? 19 months, it's gone on for so long its like the government has accepted it and moved on..Every human life is equally precious, I'd like to see what happens if the president gets captured and held hostage.

  • sipho.mbulawa - 2012-05-10 12:24

    Flip what's wrong with our government why don't they step in? They busy spinning their chairs while one of us suffers out there. #pissed

      Abdul - 2012-05-11 01:01

      Most of u have blamed on the Gorverment has failed the duty of their work 4 the SA citizens nd i am absolutely disagree wth u. I don't see any reason to blame on the gorverment, its nt that SA dsnt want to send troops or to nogetiate with pirates bt the fact is that to nogetiate or use by force can create either risk of the victams or to encourage pirates to maintain their work and more danger of the world

      Abdul - 2012-05-11 01:02

      Most of u have blamed on the Gorverment has failed the duty of their work 4 the SA citizens nd i am absolutely disagree wth u. I don't see any reason to blame on the gorverment, its nt that SA dsnt want to send troops or to nogetiate with pirates bt the fact is that to nogetiate or use by force can create either risk of the victams or to encourage pirates to maintain their work and more danger of the world

  • sipho.mbulawa - 2012-05-10 12:25

    Flip what's wrong with our government why don't they step in? They busy spinning their chairs while one of us suffers out there. #pissed

  • wan.liew - 2012-05-10 12:25

    US Navy Seals (backed by Obama) rescued American hostages held by Somalian pirates last Jan - why SA government wont do the same?!!

  • sipho.mbulawa - 2012-05-10 12:25

    Flip what's wrong with our government why don't they step in? They busy spinning their chairs while one of us suffers out there. #pissed

  • Helen - 2012-05-10 12:27

    Yet SA spent money repatriating remains from 1909. Surely people who are alive are far more important than dead bodies over 100 years old. See story http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Return-of-Khoisan-remains-a-milestone-minister-20120420-3

  • David - 2012-05-10 12:28

    Were is the SA government in all this? aren't they supposed to to assist the families and the victims? or ar ethey just going to leave them there and forget they ever excisted?

      tahra.holloway - 2012-05-10 13:15

      Unfortunately the government are not going to get involved. They are allowing the family to do fund raisers to raise the money. That is why people attending the fund raisers is so important as its the only money they are getting for the ransom.

      Melissa - 2012-05-10 14:40

      David its disgusting that they are soing almost sweet boggerall! I know the family and they are struggeling their butts off for support. The government has a stance that if they pay these pirates then they will have to do it more often because SA will be known as a hostage paying country

  • ron.warwick.79 - 2012-05-10 16:29

    Many countries includig SA are supporting this country, sending food aid, medical supplies and whatever else. Stop all aid to this country, let their families, friends and fellow citizens deal with all these pirates and kidnappers, they know who they are and where they hiding. If the want outside help let them make some kind of effort, instead of just holding out there hands for handouts.

  • songezo.kilani - 2012-05-10 17:09

    The goverment makes me sick, send our so-called special forces/intelligence to rescue them (jst lyk americans did for theirs) n kill these bastards. Bt our goverment won't jst 4 da sake of gud relations in africa, jst lyk when they allowed nigerians wt yellow fever 2 enter our country. We are disposable 2 our government, jst 4 african unity.

  • ron.warwick.79 - 2012-05-10 17:23

    They didn't waste time getting Robert Mc Bride, one SA's worst, back when he was held in Mozambique for gun running. These people are innocent, but I suppose because they are not ANC connected.

  • mknnko003 - 2012-05-10 17:54

    What is the South African Government doing about this?

  • Delaine - 2012-05-10 19:43

    What is the response from South Africa's government. You job is to serve and protect. Why take on a responsibility that you can not meet. If this had to happen to someone else in another country I am sure their government would assist. Why do we vote for ppl that bring nothing to us citizens?

  • Abdul - 2012-05-11 02:12

    We cant blam on government to snd troops or nogetiate wth pirates. And thats nt solution 4 both pirates and da victams. To force and attack pirates can cause the risk of the victams becoz there are alive nw bt they will nt alive if da government try 2 force if they fail their attemt attack. Becoz That can remove the hopes of pirates to get ransom and then kill them

  • Abdul - 2012-05-11 02:12

    We cant blam on government to snd troops or nogetiate wth pirates. And thats nt solution 4 both pirates and da victams. To force and attack pirates can cause the risk of the victams becoz there are alive nw bt they will nt alive if da government try 2 force if they fail their attemt attack. Becoz That can remove the hopes of pirates to get ransom and then kill them

  • idris.tnate - 2012-06-21 17:08

    I don't consider white as Africans and never will, Now you all want to come and persuade us with being racist and all that, While you guys enjoyed African labor slavery for decades.... We shall slave them as well, One Luv Africans

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