Accessibility links

British Couple Held By Somali Pirates In Bad Shape

Two British citizens being held by Somali pirates have issued urgent appeals for help, saying their health is on the decline.

Updates on the condition of Paul and Rachel Chandler came Sunday in a video obtained by Britain's Sky News and a report from the French news agency AFP.

In the video, Paul Chandler pleads for assistance, saying he and his wife have been held in solitary confinement for 98 days with no exercise.

AFP says the Chandlers are being held in separate locations in central Somalia. The agency quotes Rachel Chandler as saying she and her husband need to be together because "we have not much time left."

The pirates holding the couple have demanded $7 million for their release. Britain has said it will not pay ransom to kidnappers.

Pirates captured the Chandlers as they sailed their yacht (the Lynn Rival) near the Seychelles islands on October 23.

AFP says the Chandlers are being held between the village of Elhur on Somalia's coast and the small town of Amara further inland. It says Rachel Chandler is being held in a tent, guarded by pirates armed with assault rifles.

The report described her as looking pale, distraught and tired, and said Paul Chandler had a bad cough and a fever.

In previous interviews, the Chandlers have said they fear being killed. However, Somali pirates usually release their captives unharmed after some form of ransom is paid.

The pirates are currently holding about 13 ships and their crews. The most recently hijacking occurred Thursday, when pirates captured a Cambodian cargo ship, the MV Layla, in the Gulf of Aden.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.