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article imageSouth African government refuses to pay ransom for missing couple

By Christopher Szabo     Nov 14, 2010 in Crime
Johannesburg - The South African government has announced it will not pay ransom for two South African citizens held hostage since last week by Somali pirates.
Eyewitness News reports the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) said the government cannot negotiate with terrorists. DIRCO spokesman, Albie Laubscher, said the government would do all in its its power to negotiate their release, payment of a ransom was out of the question. The government demanded the unconditional release of its citizens.
Beyond that, DIRCO said all it could do now was wait.
The South Africans, a Durban couple identified as Bruno Pelizzari and his girlfriend, known only as “Deborah,” were abducted by Somali pirates after being chased by a vessel of the EU Naval contingent off the Tanzanian coast.
Meanwhile the Mail and Guardian reports the captain of the yacht has been identified as Peter Eldridge, an engineer from Richards Bay. Another report said he met the Durban couple in Dar-es-Salaam and they decided to sail home to South Africa together.
The pirates have not yet made any ransom demand, according to the South African authorities. The two are not the first South Africans to fall into the hands of Muslim extremists. In 2000, Callie and Monique Strydom were abducted by Abu Sayyaf terrorists, but were released on payment of a million US dollars ransom by Libya.
Ecoterra reports that as of Saturday, November 13, some 31 ships, one barge and over 570 hostages remain in the hands of Somali pirates. The hostages include an elderly British couple, five people from neighbouring Somaliland and the South Africans.
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