Durban couple: We're happy to be free

2012-06-21 12:10

Mogadishu - Two South Africans held hostage for 20 months after being kidnapped by Somali pirates have been freed, Somalia's defence minister said on Thursday. The couple was among the longest-held by Somali pirates.

Deborah Calitz and Bruno Pelizzari smiled but appeared exhausted at a news conference at the presidential palace in Mogadishu.

"We are very happy to get our freedom again," Calitz said, speaking haltingly. "We are so happy today and to join our families again."

No word on ransom

The two were kidnapped in October 2010 from a yacht off the southeastern coast of Africa. Their pirate captors originally demanded a ransom of $10m.

The South Africans' 20-month captivity is among the longest periods hostages have been held by pirates.

When Somali pirates first began attacking ships off East Africa in about 2005, they attacked large container ships.

But as those vessels improved their on-board defences pirates began attacking more vulnerable private yachts. An international flotilla of warships patrols waters off Somalia, leading to a decrease in pirate attacks over the last year.

Somali Defence Minister Hussein Arab Isse credited Somali security forces with helping with the South African couple's release, but he did not say that the pair had been rescued.

He also declined to say if a ransom was paid. Most pirate hostage cases end with payment of multi-million dollar ransoms.

EU Naval Force can attack pirates

The European Union Naval Force says Somali pirates currently hold seven ships and 213 hostages.

The EU force says 25 ships were hijacked last year, down from 47 in 2010. Only five ships have been hijacked in 2012, an indication that on-board defences and the international patrols are succeeding against pirate attacks.

The EU Naval Force saw its mandate expand earlier this year and is now allowed to carry out attacks on the Somali coast against suspected pirates.

  • ken.rowe.509 - 2012-06-21 12:21

    Wonderful news. Welcome home.

      zambezi.river - 2012-06-21 13:51

      Didnt I always wanna be a pirate!

  • carolyn.dewrance - 2012-06-21 12:22

    Welcome Home to you both.

  • marcelle.joubertdurandt - 2012-06-21 12:22

    AWESOME GOOD NEWS - For a change ........ So happy for them and their families!

  • ryno.colyn - 2012-06-21 12:23

    AWESOME! i wish you all the luck and wealth in the word!

  • jus.manning - 2012-06-21 12:24

    Fantastic news! Always nice seeing a good end to a horrible story.

  • Phillys - 2012-06-21 12:26

    my suggestion: pin point the pirate bases using satellite tech, and then drop low-yield nuclear munitions with a 100year afterlife minimum onto these cretins (all coastal based)and wipe them out once and for all. Munitions manufacturers will be lining up to be involved in live testing!!!!

      stuart.steedman - 2012-06-21 12:50

      Where there's men, there's women. Where the two are together, there's children. Wouldn't want bombs dropped on kids would you?

      Jawa - 2012-06-21 13:28

      Yes I would - just colateral damage. That is no excuse.

      Ian - 2012-06-22 10:23

      100%, low yield will do it, the blast area will be around 2 city blocks which is quite a bit of somalian desert, take them out

  • cosmic.tone.3 - 2012-06-21 12:26

    Yaay!! for them and even more so for this: "and is now allowed to carry out attacks on the Somali coast against suspected pirates" Hope the emotional scars heal quickly!

  • john.loveland.9 - 2012-06-21 12:26

    Very pleased for them and their families. The feel good story of the day.

  • briana.scott - 2012-06-21 12:27

    Such amazing news. Piracy is rife and scary for yachtsman all over, so glad they are home. 20 months!! wow!!

  • tumisang.kolobe - 2012-06-21 12:28

    Am glad the Somali pirates released them without a ransom because simply they are Afrikaners from South Africa, there has never been any African vessel that was taken hostage by the pirates with exception to this one which was mistakenly thought to be European, am happy that African are excluded from being hostages although I strongly believe the word African should only describe the Black African man who descends from Africa.

      Ludwig - 2012-06-21 12:36

      tumisang.kolobe do you believe in Selective morality?

      Bryan - 2012-06-21 12:45

      @tumisang... You must have one of those "hit me please" faces..!! If you havent been punched yet today, feel free to drop me a line so that I may knock some sense into you....Frikken Mororn!!!

      Wanderering - 2012-06-21 12:51

      I am a White African and would love you to say to my face I am not. You will then experience the reverse meaning of Ubuntu as you fall flat on your face. Get over the fact that there are white Africans and no matter how much you pray we will not disappear.

      Bruce - 2012-06-21 12:51

      We do not know if they were released without ransom>

      Eye's Cue - 2012-06-21 12:57

      T-W-A-T!!! W-H-A-T?????????????????????

      Mike - 2012-06-21 13:02

      Tumi K - You do not have to descend from a tree to be an African

      debbiejonesster - 2012-06-21 13:08

      @tumisang....SHAME YOU POOR BLACK AFRICAN...oh wait...not poor Black African...brainless IDIOT...!!! I hope karma comes right back and kicks you so hard in the @ss that you will have to turn to those Afrikaners to get you out the sh1t one day....FM!!!!!

      jerolan.gengiah - 2012-06-21 13:12

      My dear sir tumisang May the fleas of a thousand dogs infest your crotch and may your arms be too short to scratch

      Randomhero6661 - 2012-06-21 13:12

      @tumisang did you know freed african american slaves came back to africa to enslave their own people. maybe your great grandfather was one of them, sis on you!

      jonathan.dutoit2 - 2012-06-21 13:26

      where about are you tumisang.kolobe?? Its because of black F**KING idiots like you that this country is going down the drain, i bet you dont even know the history of south africa! Would reaky like to meet up with you, I'll show you the power of the white man! You and the rest of the idiots who gave you a thumbs-up.

      johan.lombard.33 - 2012-06-21 13:32

      Bruno Pelizzari sound pretty Italian to me!

      ttshabalala - 2012-06-21 13:32

      No Tumisang, this discussion is about two HUMAN BEINGS (colour irrelevant) who were held captive for 20 months, and we should put ourselves in their position and that of their family members to realise what a blessing this is that they are eventually out. How did you manage to twist this into a black/white discussion? Come on dude, I know many white people on this forum often do the same.....turn any form of a discussion into a political/racial one, but you shouldn't stoop to that level. Black people are tolerant....behave like one!

      johan.lombard.33 - 2012-06-21 13:36

      What really irritates me is the fact that you make these comments without any research to substantiate it. Look here for example, in October 2010 a Kenyan vessel with 39 Kenyans on board were captured. Or would you not describe Kenyans as black African. Do your research before making assumptions, or at least apologise for your blatant ignorance and lies.

      johan.lombard.33 - 2012-06-21 13:49

      Kolobe stop acting like a warthog (kolobe means warthog got those of you who did not know. All people carrying a south african id book are south africans. South Africans live on the African continent. So it makes us all Africans. Whether you like it or not. Easy as that.

      Gavin - 2012-06-21 13:53

      tumisang - ignorance and arrogance go hand in hand. you can't really believe this BS you're sprouting ??

      Nyiks11 - 2012-06-22 09:51

      Tumisang Maybe they should kidnap ANCYL members and then we'll await your reaction

      elaine.boardman - 2012-06-22 10:48

      Dude.... Did you MISS the NANDO's add.... YOU ALSO DON'T BELONG IN AFRICA!! Only the Khoi San does....

  • Nicki.Labuschagne - 2012-06-21 12:40

    What wonderful news! We were commemorating the lives of Barry and Alison from Yacht Tiana at the Zululand Yacht Club last night, from where Debbie and Bruno sailed before their ordeal. How fitting and thrilling to read this news today. Welcome home guys and fair winds.

  • Malavi10 - 2012-06-21 12:51

    next time try and play in the Atlantic ocean instead of Indian ocean hello!

  • dale.tweedieswart - 2012-06-21 12:59

    I am so happy for them & their families..

  • Dianne - 2012-06-21 13:00

    Welcome home and best wishes as you get your lives back on track. Excellent news for a change!

  • clara.viljee - 2012-06-21 13:02

    Great news!!!!!!

  • Matthew - 2012-06-21 13:06

    Should keep it the way it used to be.If they dont die in the intial defence/counter attack,then just hang them.

  • elspeth.hassall - 2012-06-21 13:17


  • Jayne - 2012-06-21 13:18

    So glad that they are safe, no thanks to our government I am sure!!These poor people>

  • debbiejonesster - 2012-06-21 13:19

    Absolutely AUSWUM news...!! Welcome home ... :)

  • johan.lombard.33 - 2012-06-21 13:21

    I am really so happy for you! Lost for words, I honestly thought you were killed. Best of luck - You showed a lot of bravery going through all of that! Strong people indeed!

  • phathuchicos - 2012-06-21 13:22

    my question to the couple would be "what the hell were you doing in Somalia?"

      johan.lombard.33 - 2012-06-21 13:24

      They were not captured in Somalia my friend. The pirates captured them off the coast of Tanzania. A very popular holiday destination for people who love the ocean. Pirates have recently been taking chances going further South As people avoid their coast like the plague.

      sello.molekwa.1 - 2012-06-21 14:19

      Thanks Johan for clarifying the ignorant moron!

  • kerrimg - 2012-06-21 13:27

    thats great news.

  • mamoshianem1 - 2012-06-21 13:29

    Oh!God is goodo.

  • Gavin - 2012-06-21 13:54

    welcome home ! was wondering if you guys would ever be released. one day the world will grow a pair and take out this pirate trash.

  • Harold - 2012-06-21 15:59

    Somali is just another country with a lot of human trash in it. These people have a cheek to come to South Africa and demand refugee status. Why have they never once tried to get money together to help us get our people back. I bet you the corrupt minister of defence could have had them released a long time ago but he was hoping to make some money out of it. "AFRIKA" IEsh

  • Jazzy - 2012-06-21 16:12

    Good news indeed.

  • Preshen - 2012-06-22 08:27

    I am sure they will stop supporting Pirates and start supporting kaizer chiefs from now on.

  • nikita.clayton1 - 2012-06-22 09:21

    I was listening to the radio this morning and Darren Simpson was interviewing the sister, you could hear the heart break in her voice when she was speaking to her brother! Thank you South Africa for setting your differences aside and helping out with the return of these two individuals, imagine what else we could do, if we just put our mind to it?

  • Ian - 2012-06-22 10:21

    excellent news, welcome home

  • elaine.boardman - 2012-06-22 10:46

    So.... what will happen to all they money raised to pay their ransom...? Hope it goes to a charity...!

      mncedisi.mtwa - 2012-06-22 12:07

      @elaine,For me this money should be given to this couple to spend to whatever they wish people. This couple has been traumatised for a long time. If you watched them on TV news last night they were still so confused not sure about themselves.

  • mncedisi.mtwa - 2012-06-22 11:47

    How did they manage to free the two couple? Is that through raid by security forces or negotiated with the pirates. I'm curious because this couple has been in a nightmare for quite sometime.

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