Freed SA couple en route home

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IOL pic june27 hostages bruno debbie Reuters (File image) Freed South African hostages Bruno Pelizzari (right) and Debbie Calitz (left) react after their release in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, earlier this month. They are due back in South Africa today.

Johannesburg - Deborah Calitz and Bruno Pelizzari, who were kidnapped by Somali pirates and held captive for more than a year, will arrive in South Africa on Wednesday morning, the Department of International Relations said.

The pair, who were released from captivity in Somalia last week, were scheduled to land at OR Tambo International Airport, spokesperson Nelson Kgwete said in a statement.

“The couple will be received by the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.”

On Tuesday, Calitz's brother Dale van der Merwe said they would leave Rome on Tuesday evening. The couple would be allowed time with their family when they arrived.

“They will be staying at the president's house in Pretoria for a few days after that, just so they can give the authorities as much information as possible on the incident.”

Van der Merwe said the South African government needed more information about the kidnapping in 2010.

Calitz and Pelizzari were kidnapped on a yacht off the south-eastern coast of Africa by Somali pirates in October 2010. They were held hostage for about 20 months until their release on Thursday.

The South African government helped secure their freedom in a joint effort with Italy and Somalia. Details of the terms of their release are not yet known. - Sapa

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