The Chandlers Mark a Year in Captivity
Today Paul and Rachel Chandler have been held captive in Somalia for One Year. How much longer will their torment last?
Their yacht the Lynn Rival was waylaid by armed pirates about 50 nautical miles west of the Seychelles on October 22 2009, as they were heading for Dar-es-Salaam on the Tanzanian coast. The ransom demand was initially set high at £4.3 million. The pirates however reduced these astronomical initial demands to around one million dollars.
Almost half of that sum was collected by friends and relatives and paid during an exchange in June, but they failed to obtain the release of the couple.
According to clan sources close to the negotiations, the couple - who were kept in isolation as much as possible - have been reunited essentially because the kidnappers can no longer afford the cost of holding them separately.
Recent news about the couple has been sketchy, however members of the same sub-clan holding the Chandlers last week also kidnapped a British security consultant working for Save the Children and his Somali fixer in the town of Adado.
The Somali was freed almost immediately and the Briton a few days later following pressure from clan elders. The Mail on Sunday reported that the Briton, Frans Barnard, was involved in trying to negotiate the Chandlers release when he was kidnapped. He was released on Wednesday following mediation by local clan elders, one of whom told AFP that a ransom of 100,000 dollars was paid. Save the Children said it was not aware of any ransom.
The central Somali transitional government, which exercises little control over the region where the Chandlers are being held, issued a statement on Friday calling for fresh impetus in release efforts. “We will review efforts made over the past twelve months and seek new channels of influence and negotiation including contacts with clan and community leaders,” the statement said.
The British consultant's release on Wednesday “offers hope for Paul and Rachel and all other hostages held in our country”, Information Minister Abdirahman Omar Osman said.
Noonsite asks that all fellow sailors take a minute out of their day today to think about Paul and Rachel and their plight.