Britons held hostage by Somali pirates speak of torment

A British couple held hostage by Somali pirates spoke last night of the mutual torment of their separation as their wedding anniversary approaches.

Paul Chandler, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and his wife Rachel have been detained for more than four months after they were captured while sailing from the Seychelles towards Tanzania.



In a telephone interview with a Somali television station to be shown on last night's ITV News At Ten, Mrs Chandler, who has recently appeared gaunt in pictures, said:"I'm obviously very tormented and very, very lonely and worried."



She added: "I spoke to him six, seven or eight days ago but they don't let us, we're not together, we've not seen one another for five weeks now but I was allowed to speak to him."



During the interview, recorded approximately two weeks ago, Mr Chandler described their forced partition as "torture".



He said: "I don't understand this. This is torture and we have never in our married life been apart this long and we have our anniversary next Sunday. We will have been married 29 years."



After being told that the Somali community in the UK is doing what it can to help aid their release, Mrs Chandler added: "It's very nice to know that the Somali community and the UK are concerned about me, I am very grateful."



The British Government has refused to pay a ransom for the couple and called for their immediate release.



Foreign Secretary David Miliband earlier said the Government was "working very hard" and nobody would be satisfied until the couple returned home safely.



Officials are in contact with the couple's family.

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