Somaliland MP urges Somali pirates to unconditionally release British couples

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress) — Somaliland MP, Mr Ahmed Mohamed Diriye called Sunday for the unconditional release of British couples, Paul and Rachel Chandler, who were kidnapped in the Indian Ocean more than three months ago.

Mr Ahmed pleaded to the Somali pirates to restore the couple’s freedom without preconditions.

The lawmaker said he had the full backing of Somaliland’s 82 member seat House of Representative locally known as “Golaha Wakiilada”.

“I also want to notify the Somali people, whom we have religion and cultural ties to restore the rights of the British couples without preconditions and to keep in mind the honour and dignity of the thousands of Somalis who call UK home,” he said in a press release.

Paul and his wife Rachel, who are 60 and 56 years of age respectively are believed to be held in separate locations in the notorious pirate-strong hold town of Harardheere under 24-hour surveillance.
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The Somali pirates have demanded $7 million in ransom, a figure not even the rich families can afford to pay and thus far the British government has refused to deal with the Somali pirates.

In recent days Somali community leaders in UK as well as politician, tribal elders and influential figures in both Somalia and Somaliland have called for the immediate release of the couples.

The Somali people who have a culture naturally opposed to the oppression of the elderly made it clear to the pirates they will no longer tolerate such barbaric and inhuman treatment of these harmless elderly couples.

The Somali pirates have enjoyed the backing of the Somali community before the Chandlers because many felt that Western ships were either dumping toxic waste or over fishing in their waters. So many have seen the pirates as national heroes however in recent months, many criminals have hijacked the cause and exploited the situation to their own advantage to make profits rather than protesting about the illegal fishing.

Photograph: Paul Chandler being examined by Somali doctor Abdi Mohamed Helmi Hangul. (Mohamed Dahir/AFP/Getty Images), 31st January 2010

Somalilandpress, 14th February 2010

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