Insure your car, home and valuables with iWYZE
Go-betweens, the to and fro of complex negotiations, the sale of hostages, lurching from hope to despair, stubborn oaths not to reward kidnappers, and surreptitious diplomacy – a great deal of the Bruno Pelizzari-Debbie Calitz story has yet to be told.
Days after the couple were freed by their Somalian captors, details of the release remain sketchy. Was ransom paid? How much? By whom? Or was some sort of unseen leverage used and a trade-off done? Did Somalian soldiers prise them free? In what way did the Italians help?
There are many questions. And what role did our International Relations officials in Pretoria play to earn the media moments they staged during the extended drama, and at its happy end on Thursday? We presume, from the limelight they enjoyed, that it was extensive.
But it was done guardedly, not wanting to publicise the wicked cause of pirates and, crucially, avoiding greater jeopardy for the victims.
This week we will welcome home Pelizzari and Calitz, regardless of exactly how it happened. After 20 months of fear, they will surely relish the embrace of their loved ones and many sympathisers.
As they adjust, the larger question remains: how does the world rid itself of the piracy plaguing Africa’s East Coast? How does it avoid the nasty squeeze between human life and refusing to reward criminality?
Patrolling south of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the western part of the Indian Ocean including the Seychelles, is one way. But it is a vast area, 4 000 000km2, for the European Naval Force (presently nine warships and five maritime patrol aircraft). Armed sentries aboard vessels is another. All of this is under way, as are pre-emptive operations on land.
The only way to effectively combat this villainy, however, is to switch the debate from the wisdom of rewarding them to what cost the world is prepared to impose on them for what they do.