Monday, February 8, 2010

Paul and Rachel Chandler Updates

While Paul and Rachel Chandler have been hostages in Africa for over 100 days, no ransom has been paid for their release. They were separated, then reunited, and under constant death threats that have been reiterated to the international community by their captors, hoping to move a ransom along.

Rachel Chandler recently interviewed by news sources and had said that they were going to be "killed within days". Their captors have also said that they would rather die than release the British couple without recompense.

A doctor was allowed to visit each Chandler separately and his found the pair to be fairing as well as they might be, considering:

The doctor's verdict on 60-year-old Mr Chandler was that he was in slightly better health but with a bad cough and a mild fever.

The health of the Chandlers could well be the key issue in this process.

Dr Helmi said the pirates did not seem to be beating their captives, but equally they did not seem to care about making them comfortable.

"They are being held under trees, in very hot conditions - 39C.

"You cannot imagine the food they are eating and the water they are drinking - very bad."

Even so, there are no reported cases of pirates killing captives - either deliberately or through neglect.

The pirates say that negotiations are under way, but like any complex business deal, these things take time.

Somali sources close to the pirates say negotiations "are under way", although they refused to say what exactly was being discussed.

But the experience of other shipping companies suggests the longer the process continues, the more expensive it becomes.

There are reports of pirates delivering itemised invoices, detailing costs such as fuel for their boats, food for the captives and gunmen, ammunition, satellite telephone calls and so on.

The gunmen holding the Chandlers will be running up similar expenses, and security analysts say they will expect to turn a profit.

The Chandlers video statements - and the visit by the doctor - are almost certainly a part of the captors' strategy to put pressure on their family to find the money.

The gunmen are in total control, and nobody gets in to see the hostages, or no message gets out, that they do not think will help their cause.

There seems little doubt the Chandlers are suffering, but just as doubtless is the fact it suits the pirates for the world to know it.

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