Pirate hostages fear they will be killed in days

Author: By Kunal Dutta and Daniel Howden in Nairobi

Paul and Rachel Chandler, from Tunbridge Wells in Kent, were filmed on
Wednesday by a Channel 4 News camera crew; the two-minute video was
broadcast yesterday evening.

Talking directly to the camera and standing in front of numerous gunmen
brandishing loaded weapons, the pair made a direct appeal to the British
Government. Mr Chandler, 59, says: “The kidnappers are losing patience;
they are concerned that there has been no response at all to their demands
for money.” He urges the government to open negotiations over a
possible ransom payment, adding: “I have no doubt that they will not
hesitate to kill us perhaps between a week or so of now if there is no

While the pair looked tired and stressed, the video did not appear to support
claims made by their captors last week that the pair had incurred “serious
health problems”.

Diplomats in Nairobi told The Independent that while the video was distressing
to watch, it was also likely to have been heavily scripted, in a move
deliberately designed to intensify fear as well as signal frustration at the
pace of negotiations.

The Chandlers, both retired professionals, were kidnapped in the early hours
of 23 October when armed men stormed their yacht, the Lynn Rival, as it
sailed from the Seychelles towards Tanzania. Their captors are continuing to
demand a $7m (£4.2m) ransom, which the government has so far refused to pay.
In the UK, a spokeswoman said the Foreign Office was aware of the video but
that “substantive concessions” would not be made to

In the video, Mr Chandler says: “This is our 27th day in captivity. So
far we have been provided with adequate food and water and facilities, and
so we are unharmed and in reasonable physical health. Mentally we under
great stress, and threatened. Our kidnappers are losing patience.”

He adds: “We ask the government and the people of Britain, and our
families, to do whatever you can to at least open negotiations with these
people about money, so perhaps our lives can be brought back.

“We have been threatened that there is a terrorist gang at large in the
country looking for us. We are also concerned that these people will lose
patience and will not feed us.

“And I have no doubt that they will not hesitate to kill us in a week or
so from now if there is no response. So, please somebody get in touch
otherwise we just sleep-walk to a tragic ending.” Mrs Chandler, 55, is
also asked to speak, against the sound of guns being cocked and loaded. “We
are under threat and we are told that we will not be fed and given water, so
we are very concerned about the future,” she said.

Since the kidnapping, a month ago tomorrow, the Government has stood by its
line of not making concessions to hostage-takers. A spokesman for the
pirates has previously said that the ransom, a “little amount”,
would compensate for the seizures made by international anti-piracy patrols.

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