Ixworth: Brother’s relief as couple freed by Somali pirates

THE Suffolk-based brother of a woman held captive with her husband by Somali pirates for more than a year has spoken of his relief after they were freed.

Paul and Rachel Chandler, who were seized in October last year while sailing from the Seychelles towards Tanzania, were “tired but happy” after being handed over to local officials in Adado, Somalia.

The couple, from Tunbridge Wells in Kent, are reportedly being flown to Nairobi in Kenya where they will be transferred to the British High Commission.

Mrs Chandler’s brother, Stephen Collett, from Ixworth near Bury St Edmunds, said: “We are very pleased at the news.”

Their release was also being reported by the AFP news agency, as well as broadcasters Al Jazeera, CNN and Fox News.

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TV footage on Sky News showed Mr and Mrs Chandler, aged 60 and 57 respectively, walking unaided in Adado.

The mayor of the town, Mohamed Aden, told Sky News that he received the couple and gave them some breakfast.

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He said: “They were tired but happy - I am very, very happy.

“We gave them a cold shower, we gave them a breakfast.

“Then we showed them to the community, and the community showed them they are sorry about what happened.

“They apologised for the treatment they were subjected to in our neighbourhood.”

Reports suggest that a ransom of up to one million dollars (�620,000) was paid to secure the couple’s release.

The money is said to have come from a mixture of private investors and the Somali government. The British Government’s policy is not to pay ransom demands.

The Foreign Office has not yet commented on the reports.

The Chandlers’ release ends a 388-day ordeal which began on October 23 last year when their 38ft yacht was stormed by armed men.

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