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Funds from a trust set up for now-freed Somali hostages Bruno Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz could be used to help others held captive.
Pelizzari’s sister, Vera Hecht, speaking on Tuesday before her flight to Durban from Johannesburg, where she had spent time with her brother and Calitz, said some of the trust money would go towards the rehabilitation of the couple. And there was the possibility the remainder would go towards assisting with the ransom burden of other hostages.
However, it is not yet clear how much, if any, ransom was paid to secure the release of the Bluff couple, who are expected to arrive in Durban on Friday. Hecht said she was not prepared to disclose any details of a ransom, citing the safety of other hostages. “We always have to consider other people in the same position,” she said.
It has also not been disclosed how much money is, or was, in the SOS Bru and Deb Trust
, which Hecht had initiated to ensure that the fund-raising was “legal and above board”.
Pelizzari and Calitz, who were held hostage by Somali pirates for 20 months, jetted off to Rome soon after their release to be reunited with Pelizzari’s mother. After a few days, they, together with Hecht and her mother, flew to Johannesburg where the couple met representatives of the South African government. Hecht said the couple had decided to stay in Johannesburg for a few days to be with Calitz’s family
before they returned home on Friday.