SA hostages 'used as human shields'

2011-10-25 09:42
Cape Town - A Richards Bay man has told how he feels guilty to be back in South Africa while a local couple is still being held by pirates off the Somali coast.

Peter Eldridge, 62, told how he met Bruno Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz in Dar es Salaam last year and asked them to sail with him to Richards Bay on his self-built yacht, reported the Cape Argus.

He said speedboats rushed past the SY Choizil on October 26 last year and pirates came aboard, armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades, about 70km east of the port of Mtwara on the border of Tanzania and Mozambique.

Eldridge said he saw how Pelizzari and Calitz were used as human shields by the pirates when French naval officers started firing at the pirates.

Almost a year has passed since the hijacking and Eldridge said he thought all the time about Pelizzari and Calitz, wishing they were back with their families. He said he was happy they were still together and that they seemed to be healthy.

He said he felt bad for being back home while they were still being held captive and often woke at night, wondering where they were sleeping.

Eldridge was rescued by a French naval fleet when he was able to radio to them from the cabin on a day when the Pelizzari and Calitz were taken ashore by the pirates.

He arrived back in SA on November 10.

He has not heard again from the pirates.

Read more on:    deborah calitz  |  bruno pelizzari  |  east africa  |  somali pirates
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