HARARDHEERE, 21 November 2009 (Somalilandpress) — The family of a British couple kidnapped by pirates have made another appeal for their release after seeing footage of them surrounded by gunmen.

In a video obtained by Channel 4 News, Paul and Rachel Chandler, aged 59 and 55 and from Kent, are seen surrounded by Somali gunmen.

Mr Chandler pleads for their lives, saying they fear they may be killed within a week.

The pirates have demanded a ransom of $7m (£4.3m) in a phone call to the BBC.

This is nearly double the highest ever payout to Somali pirates.

With a gun pointing at her head, Mrs Cahndler said: “Our captors are very impatient now that nobody has been in touch to enter into negotiations.

Paul Chandler

“So we ask the government and the people of Britain and our family, to do whatever they can to enter into negotiations with these people to buy back our lives.”

BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner said the family were believed to be bearing up well.

“Although it came as a relief to see their loved ones alive and unharmed, it was distressing to see them surrounded by Somali gunmen,” he said.

And a statement released by the family said: “We miss them deeply and urge their release.” [ad#Google Adsense (336×280)]

After the footage was aired, the Foreign Office issued a statement expressing sympathy for the victims’ families, but reiterating its position.

A spokesman said: “The UK government position is clear: we do not make substantive concessions to hostage takers, including ransoms.”

Instead they are using all their connections in east Africa to try to shift “perception away from cash machines” and to try to persuade the pirates to do the “humanitarian thing and let them go”, said Mr Gardner.

He added that although Somali pirates were very good at putting psychological pressure on, they had never killed anyone themselves.

There are fears that the pirates could sell the couple on to Al-Shabaab, an Islamist group in Somalia, if their demands are not met.

Mrs Chandler said: “We are told that there is a terrorist cell, or a fanatic cell, searching for us and we are also feeling very much under threat now that these people themselves won’t hesitate to take our lives.”

The Chandlers, of Tunbridge Wells, were taken hostage on October 23 as they sailed their yacht in the Indian Ocean.

Sources: BBC and Channel 4 news (video)


  1. They gave the Somalis a black eye and a bad reputation on the world stage because of their bad deeds. Somalia is now considered the worst country in the world in piracy and the most unsafe country for travellers.

  2. They definitely destroyed the Somali reputation and image, now everyone is going to think we kidnap old people and hold them for randsom, we dont know how to get our own plate of fruit.

    They need to be eliminated for good, they are worst than the Al Shabaab.

  3. lawlessness, appetite for money, greed and control is driving force for more in these pirates's mind. And yes, foreign vessels are over-fishing and dumping toxic waste on Somali shores, but it is a bad taste when you go after old and innocent people for randsom and it has to stop because it is getting out of control.

  4. :@Gobaad "Bad taste" – that has to be the understatement of the year. Send back all the freeloading Somalian immigrants in this country NOW.

    • There is no need to talk like that, you are no better than the pirates, at least the pirates are money hungry, your racist and shallow. The fact that 85% expressed disgust in the above poll says a lot.

      People misunderstood pirates, often its few warlords arming young men who have no education, no jobs and want to feed their families.

      They load them into small boats and follow directions on the phone or radio from their bosses.

      The West is in this too, if they wont how come they can't stop few pirates, if they wanted to stop mighty Russia they could but not few pirates, it doesnt make sense. It tells you they are in it for two reasons, to control Somali waters using the piracy as cover and secondly to profit it from it too (western lawyers, 'negiators', etc…

      Dont hate if your clueless.

  5. Jane,

    That is not a very educated response to a very bad situation. The Somali people cannot be judged on the actions of a few. Please try to understand that this world consists of more than just the UK; at this difficult time we need to think about bridging the gap between communities locally and globally.