To what an extent is the department involved in securing the safe release of a couple who have been held captive by Somali pirates since October 2010

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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NO: 3414    (NW4099E)

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 36-2011 OF 4 NOVEMBER 2011

Mr S MOKGALAPA (DA) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION:

  1. To what extent is her department involved in securing the safe release of a certain couple (names furnished) who have been held captive by Somali pirates since October 2010;

  2. Whether, with regard to the threats by the Somali pirates to kill the hostages (details furnished), the Government has taken any steps to save the lives of this couple; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what (a) steps and (b) are the further relevant details?

REPLY:

  1. The Department was informed on 5 November 2010 of the kidnapping by Somali pirates of two South African nationals on 26 October 2010.  Immediate action was taken to support the families emotionally and to provide them with technical guidance on the dynamics of hostage taking and negotiation. This support has continued uninterrupted and is enhanced as detail of circumstances in Somalia emerges.
  2. The Department has followed all diplomatic channels and other avenues to seek the release of the hostages.  The Department will continue with its efforts whilst at the same time providing the families with support and guidance in their difficult negotiations with the pirates in Somalia.
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