British couple freed by Somali pirates

08:13, November 15, 2010      

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Freed British hostage Paul Chandler (R, front) and his wife Rachel (L, front) wait for the press conference in Mogadishu, capital of Somalia, Nov. 14, 2010. Paul Chandler and his wife Rachel who were held hostage by pirates since October last year were released Sunday and handed over to the Somali government. (Xinhua/Ismail Warsameh)

A British couple were released on Sunday by Somali pirates after being kidnapped for more than a year, local media reported.

The retired yacht couple, Paul and Rachel Chandler, are now in the care of the British High Commission in the Kenyan capital Nairobi before flying back to Britain to be reunited with their relatives.

Mrs. Chandler said in a news conference that she was "happy to be alive" and to be among "decent, everyday people."

"We're fine, we're rather skinny and bony but we're fine," Mr. Chandler said. "We were not really directly endangered by the gang, after the initial seizure."

The British news channel, SkyNews, reported that a ransom of up to one million dollars was paid to the pirates following donations by private individuals, including family and friends.

Commenting on their release, the British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the "tremendous news" and said he was "grateful to all those who have worked so hard to bring the Chandlers out."

Paul and Rachel Chandler were kidnapped in October 2009 when their yacht was hijacked off the Seychelles.

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