“We ask the pirates holding them, al-Shabaab and all Somalia to show humanity – release our family from this emotional famine that has been imposed on us.”
That’s the heart-rending plea by the families of South African hostages Bruno Pelizzari and Deborah Calitz, who are being held by Somali pirates.
The desperate plea will be circulated in the Somali media on Monday.
The Durbanites were taken captive by pirates after the yacht Choizil on which they were crewing, was captured off the East African coast.
Friday night’s plea came after a Dutch court on Thursday sentenced two Somali pirates to six and seven years in prison for abducting the couple.
Three other men, including the pirates’ leader, were sentenced to four to five years for complicity to piracy.
Pelizzari’s sister Vera said last night they had learned of the sentencing on Friday, but it did not change the fact that her brother and Deborah were still being held captive after nine months.
In the emotional plea for their return, Pelizzari highlighted the work being done by South Africa’s Gift of the Givers in the famine-stricken city of Mogadishu and its immediate surrounds.
“Every night we have heard on the news how South Africa, through the Gift of the Givers and the generosity of many South Africans, are assisting Somalia in its famine crisis and saving countless lives.
“These two South Africans are people of Africa and innocent of any offence to their brothers and sisters of Somalia. We ask the pirates holding them, al-Shabaab and all Somalia to show humanity – release our family from this emotional famine that has been imposed on us,” said the plea.
Deborah Calitz’s daughter, Kerri, said the families were hoping the media plea would help get her mother freed.
“The pirates’ sentencing does not help us at all – my mom and Bruno are still being held.” - Independent on Saturday