Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Bangladesh: Textile workers' lives still at risk?

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

José Bové, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, Group of the Greens

Read more

WEB NEWS

NYPD's online campaign backfires

Read more

ENCORE!

Celebrating the Bard's birthday in Britain

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yuki Tatsumi, Senior Associate of the East Asia Program, Stimson Center

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

USA: Executions halted over drugs secrecy

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

An overly optimistic plan?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

#NYPD Fail

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Soaring iPhone sales in China boost Apple earnings

Read more

  • Russia orders military drills as Ukraine moves on separatists

    Read more

  • Israel halts Middle East peace talks over Hamas deal

    Read more

  • Afghan guard kills US doctors in Kabul hospital attack

    Read more

  • Platini: PSG in danger over Financial Fair Play rules

    Read more

  • Ségolène Royal denies banning cleavage at French ministry

    Read more

  • Palestinian unity deal stirs anger in Israel

    Read more

  • Video: Mayor in east Ukraine ready ‘to turn Slaviansk into battlefield’

    Read more

  • US would defend Japan in islands dispute, Obama says

    Read more

  • New far-right mayor moves to quash Paris region mosque

    Read more

  • US soldiers arrive in Poland as Ukraine crisis continues

    Read more

  • Fatah, Hamas agree to form Palestinian unity government

    Read more

  • Millions of Syrians desperately need aid, says UN

    Read more

  • Muslims in CAR pray for an escape route

    Read more

  • Madrid beat Bayern 1-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • Britain's ex-PM Blair warns against spread of radical Islam

    Read more

  • Turkish PM offers condolences to descendants of Armenians killed in 1915

    Read more

  • Gay marriage, one year on: ‘French civilisation did not crumble’

    Read more

  • Colombian president reinstates firebrand Bogota mayor

    Read more

  • NYPD public relations campaign on Twitter goes awry

    Read more

  • In pictures: Violent protests erupt in Rio

    Read more

Africa

Somali pirates demand 7 million dollars for British couple

©

Video by Philip CROWTHER

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-10-31

Somali pirates holding a British couple kidnapped from their yacht are asking for a ransom of seven million dollars (4.7 million euros) to set them free, Britain's Foreign Office has said.

AFP - Somali pirates holding a British couple kidnapped from their yacht have demanded a ransom of seven million dollars (4.7 million euros) to set them free, Britain's Foreign Office said Friday.
  
"We're aware of it, we can confirm it," a spokesman said after the BBC played a tape of what it said was a spokesman for the pirates outlining their ransom demands for Paul and Rachel Chandler.
  
The BBC tape featured a man's voice saying: "If they do not harm us, we will not harm them. We only need a little amount of seven million dollars".
  
The Chandlers, who are aged 59 and 55, were sailing off the Somali coast on their yacht the Lynn Rival when pirates boarded their boat and too them hostage last Friday.
  
They were sailing across the Indian Ocean from the Seychelles to Tanzania when they were taken and their 38 foot (12 metre) yacht was later found empty by Britain's Royal Navy.
  
They were later held in a Singapore-flagged container ship which was seized by pirates earlier this month but are now thought to have been moved again.
  
The couple have spoken to British broadcaster ITV by telephone. An anxious-sounding Rachel Chandler said Friday that the couple were "safe" and "healthy" and that their kidnappers were "very hospitable people".
  
The Foreign Office spokesman could not say what Britain's next steps would be as it tries to free the Chandlers, or whether a negotiator was in place. Britain's stated policy is not to pay ransoms in such situations.
  
British officials have held talks on the situation at the Cobra emergency briefing room which is used at times of emergency or disaster.
  
Paul Chandler's brother-in-law Stephen Collett has previously insisted that the couple are "not rich people" and that most of their money is tied up in their yacht.
  
Stephen Collett was among relatives of the couple who met Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke for talks in London Wednesday.
  
The Somali premier has said: "I want to give my assurance to the family that my government will do everything it can, within its resources, to find this couple and return them safely."
  
The apparent pirate spokesman defended the size of the ransom demand in the call to the BBC, criticising the "negative" impact of NATO operations in the region.
  
"They have destroyed a lot of equipment belonging to the poor local fishermen. They arrest fishermen and destroy their equipment. In defiance to our local administrations, they illegally transfer the fishermen to their own prisons and to the prisons of other foreign countries," he said.
  
"So when you consider the damage and all the people affected, we say the amount is not big".
  
While most of the more than 100 ships hijacked in the region since the beginning of 2008 have been merchant or fishing vessels, pirates have also seized more vulnerable targets such as private yachts.
  
A hijacking earlier this year ended with French commandos shooting dead two pirates and a hostage in a bid to rescue him, his wife and young child.
  
Somali pirates, who have launched almost daily attacks near the Seychelles since monsoon winds dropped a month ago, currently hold a total of nine ships and around 200 crew.

Date created : 2009-10-31

Comments

COMMENT(S)