News / Africa

    Pirates' Hostages to Return to Britain 'Very Soon'

    British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler who were released by the Somali pirates speak during a press conference at the presidential palace in Mogadishu Somalia, 14 Nov 2010, accompanied by Somali prime minister Mohamed Abdulahi Mohamed, left and Parliamen
    British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler who were released by the Somali pirates speak during a press conference at the presidential palace in Mogadishu Somalia, 14 Nov 2010, accompanied by Somali prime minister Mohamed Abdulahi Mohamed, left and Parliamen

    A British couple who were freed Sunday by pirates in Somalia say they will return home to Britain "very soon".  As their 13-month ordeal comes to an end, 

    Rachel and Paul Chandler spent their first night of freedom at the home of the British High Commissioner in Nairobi.

    Soon after their release they were told that Paul Chandler's father died while they were in captivity.

    Now they say they will return to their home country, Britain.    

    London-based piracy expert Roger Middleton says it will be good to have them back in Britain.

    "It is excellent news that the Chandlers are coming home, they have been held for far too long.  It must have been very difficult for them," he said.  "The problem with ransoms, of course, is that every time a ransom is paid it does kind of perpetuate the problem of piracy.  But we are stuck in a situation where there is not really an alternative to paying ransoms to get people released."

    The Chandlers were seized from their yacht more than one year ago.  The retired couple was sailing around the world and was kidnapped near the Seychelles.  A $7-million ransom was initially demanded, but not met.  Earlier this year $450,000 was reportedly handed over to the pirates, but that sum failed to secure their release.

    Recently a further payment was made.  Britain's foreign secretary has said the British government played no part in the payment of a ransom.  

    Middleton says Somali pirates are motivated by the high cash reward that can be earned.

    "Piracy in 2009 probably generated something in the region of $100 million for Somalia," he said.  "So this has become a very big business.  And just to put that into some context, that makes it the second-biggest earner of foreign currency for the whole country so this is very important."

    According to the International Maritime Bureau, Somali pirates have been responsible for at least 40 percent of piracy attacks this year.

    International navies patrol the Gulf of Aden and the Somali basin, but maritime experts say pirates are ranging into areas where they were not previously known to operate, which makes the problem even harder to police.

    Middleton says countries that are home to pirates often suffer similar plights - namely poverty and weak government.  But he says Somalia's situation is unique.

    "Somali piracy is primarily driven by a ransom culture, so it is about holding people and waiting for ransom to release them," he said.  "Piracy in other parts of the world is very often more to do with stealing the goods or the ship itself and can be a lot more violent because of that."

    The Chandlers say they were beaten while held in captivity.  Paul Chandler thanked the Somali government for its help securing their release and said some of the ransom money had been paid by the global Somali Diaspora.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora