Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Help Rescue SA Hostages!

South African yacht crew members Bruno Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz were captured almost a year ago (October 2010), by Somali pirates, at the entrance to the Mozambique/ Madagascar Channel.

The ransom demand for their release stands at US $4 million (ZA R28-million).

Diplomatic attempts to secure their release have been unsuccessful.

Clayton Monyela, spokesperson for the Department of International Relations, confirmed that the South African government would not pay any ransom demands to pirates that have taken South African citizens hostage.
“It’s a policy employed by governments worldwide. We cannot negotiate with pirates for the lives of kidnapped citizens. The policy is aimed at discouraging the kidnapping of any person, regardless of their nationality.”
Meanwhile, an online and SMS campaign to raise the funds has now been started.

To support the cause of getting Bruno and Deborah home visit:

SMS SOS to 38417 and donate R10.

Chronological Timeline:
  • 23 Oct 2010: A basic South African yacht, the Choizil, set out from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to Richards Bay, South Africa for repairs. Captained by Peter Eldridge, with Bruno Pelizzari and Deborah Calitz as crew
  • 26 Oct 2010: Yacht hijacked by 12 pirates as it was about to enter the Madagascar / Mozambique Channel. Pirates changed the course Northbound. When the Choizil approached the Somali coastline, a naval vessel attempted to assist, but kept its distance, for fear of hostages being harmed.
  • 6 Nov 2010: The yacht was beached at Baraawe, Somalia. The two crew members were taken ashore but skipper Peter Eldridge refused to leave his vessel and was later rescued by the members of the naval vessel.
  • Families were notified by the Department of International Relations that the couple had been taken hostage.
  • 14 Dec 2010: Families in SA received the first call from the pirates. Initial ransom demand was US $10 million.
  • 19 Aug 2011: Ransom demand currently stands at US $4 million.
  • 22 Aug 2011: First communication with one of the hostages, thus confirming they are still alive! Bruno Pelizzari was allowed, by his captors, to speak briefly to his sister, only to confirm that they (the hostages) would not be released without the payment of a ransom.
Timeline sourced from:


Tia Mysoa said... .....Click here to refresh this blog


Two South Africans held hostage for 20 months after being kidnapped by Somali pirates have been freed, Somalia's defence minister said on Thursday. The couple was among the longest-held by Somali pirates.

Deborah Calitz and Bruno Pelizzari smiled but appeared exhausted at a news conference at the presidential palace in Mogadishu.

"We are very happy to get our freedom again," Calitz said, speaking haltingly. "We are so happy today and to join our families again."

No word on ransom

The two were kidnapped in October 2010 from a yacht off the southeastern coast of Africa. Their pirate captors originally demanded a ransom of $10m.

The South Africans' 20-month captivity is among the longest periods hostages have been held by pirates.

When Somali pirates first began attacking ships off East Africa in about 2005, they attacked large container ships.

But as those vessels improved their on-board defences pirates began attacking more vulnerable private yachts. An international flotilla of warships patrols waters off Somalia, leading to a decrease in pirate attacks over the last year.

Somali Defence Minister Hussein Arab Isse credited Somali security forces with helping with the South African couple's release, but he did not say that the pair had been rescued.

He also declined to say if a ransom was paid. Most pirate hostage cases end with payment of multi-million dollar ransoms.

Read the rest on

Latest 5 Featured Posts:

Operation Vula, its Secret Safari, and Zuma’s band of comrades - Dec. 2013
During 1986 the ANC launched an underground operation called Operation Vula. A lesser-known fact is that it continued to operate after Nelson Mandela's release in February 1990, and for three years after his speech in August 1990 when he reiterated the total commitment of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe and the SACP to the Groote Schuur Minute.

Heritage Day Photographs (Voortrekker Monument) - Sept. 2013
This posting includes a few photographs taken on Heritage Day 2013. The posting introduces an unusual but beautiful new structure called QUO VADIS? (with the question mark) which I’m sure many readers have never heard of.

The Yellow-Bucket Marula Tree: A Mystery Solved! - Oct. 2013
I came across a rather strange phenomenon one day while travelling along the R561 route between Tolwe and Baltimore in the Limpopo province of South Africa. A small yellow bucket was attached high-up in a branch of a Marula tree, hence the name of this posting. It’s a real funny story which I’m sure most readers will enjoy - as much as I enjoyed compiling the article  - (with illustrations).

Pretoria’s Monument for Victims of Terrorism - July 2013
Many people (including myself) had almost forgotten about a noteworthy monument in Pretoria that stood at the entrance of the old Munitoria building on the corner of Van der Walt and Vermeulen Streets (now renamed Lilian Ngoyi and Madiba Streets). When the Munitoria building was demolished on 7 July 2013 nobody could tell me whether the monument was still standing or not, so I decided to go look for myself.

Remembering The Battle of Delville Wood - July 2013
14 July marks a day when the South African 1st Infantry Brigade got engaged in the 1916 (WW1) Battle of the Somme, in France. The battle was one of the largest of World War I, in which more than a million men were wounded or killed, making it one of humanity's bloodiest battles. One specific encounter during this battle, known as The Battle of Delville Wood, is of particular importance to South Africa. The posting includes a comprehensive article (with pictures) compiled and written by Petros Kondos.

African Countries (Alphabetical list):
(The links will redirect to the page dealing with the specific country.)