Sunday, July 06, 2008

Somalia: German yachties kidnapped by pirates call family

Say they are 'well' considering the circumstances.

Two Germans kidnapped from a yacht last month by pirates off Somalia's northern Puntland region have been in contact with their families, the weekly news magazine Der Spiegel said in a report Sunday AFP reports.

The pirates allowed the couple, identified only as Jurgen K., 63, and Sabine M., 51, to telephone relatives on Friday. They told family members they were well given the circumstances, the report said.

The German ministry of foreign affairs had also sent a package of medication via intermediaries for the man who is a diabetic.

The pirates have demanded millions of euros in ransom money for the pair, who were seized on June 23, Der Spiegel said, adding that a crisis cell in Berlin had negotiated with them through a tribal leader.

I hope it's not these tribal leaders... (jumbled translation from Mareeg Online.) It sounds like it might be according to Garowe Online.

Reports coming from Elmadow district in the Sanag region say that a heavy fighting has broken out over that area after a number of heavily armed militia tried to disturb on going negotiations arranged by the Tripe (sic) elders with the Pirates to free their hostages having no ransom at all.

More about the hostages - a human rights worker and his wife. His wife is now recovering from being 'beaten lightly' by the pirates.

Yusuf Ahmed Jama, an official with a Puntland-based human rights agency, was allowed to visit the German family in a remote area of Sanaag region. "I spoke and stayed with the hostages for two days," Mr. Jama said speaking to the media.

Mr. Jorgan Kantiner, the German hostage in Sanag region in eastern state of has developed diabetes in the past four days said the human rights activist who visited the German hostages. Somalia Mr. Jama said that the wife "is in good health," but was roughed up during the initial kidnapping when she was reportedly "beaten lightly."

The family had a boat filled with supplies and were traveling around the world when the pirates kidnapped them near the coast of Aden, Yemen. The hostages are fed well and have "their own cook," added Mr. Jama. "The German couple are taken around each day, but the place is like Tora Bora," he added, referring to a well-known mountainous region in Afghanistan.