Latest Channel 4 News:
Row over Malaysian state's coins
'Four shot at abandoned mine shaft'
Rain fails to stop Moscow wildfires
Cancer blow for identical twins
Need for Afghan progress 'signs'

UK 'will not pay Somalia pirate ransom'

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 31 October 2009

Hostage negotiators say they will not meet Somali pirates' $7m ransom demand for the safe return of British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler, who were captured last week.

Paul and Rachel Chandler

In a phone call taken by the BBC last night, one of the pirates is reported as saying: "If they do not harm us, we will not harm them - we only need a little amount of $7m."

But after seeing the report, the Foreign Office said the government would not make any "substantive concessions to hostage-takers, and that includes the payment of ransom".

Mr Chandler, 59, and his wife, 55, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, were captured in the early hours of Friday when armed men boarded their yacht.

Leah Mickleborough, the couple's niece, said the family had been unaware of the ransom request before they saw it on BBC News 24.

She said: "We had no idea what the figure would be. We have seen the report on the BBC and we will look into it."

The caller is reported to have the amount would cover damage caused by Nato.

He told the corporation: "Nato operations have had a lot of negative impact here, they have destroyed a lot of equipment belonging to the poor local fishermen.

"They arrest fishermen and destroy their equipment, in defiance of our local administrations.

"They illegally transfer the fishermen to their own prisons, and prisons of other foreign countries, so when you consider the damage and all the people affected, we say the amount is not big."

The ransom request came after Mrs Chandler broke down in tears during her first contact since being taken hostage by Somali pirates a week ago.

She urged her family not to worry, saying both her and her husband Paul were "safe" and described their captors as "very hospitable people".

Send this article by email

More on this story

Channel 4 is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Watch the Latest Channel 4 News

Watch Channel 4 News when you want

Latest UK news

More News blogs

View RSS feed

Sangin 'not a retreat'


Author Patrick Hennessey on the Helmand redeployment.

Who is horse-boy?


Hoof or spoof? Google Street View mystery figure speaks.

'Serious loss of discipline'


Saville inquiry condemns British soldiers for Bloody Sunday.

Afghan fatalities in full

British soldiers killed in Afghanistan

The full list of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2001.

How to tweet

How and why to follow the Channel 4 News family on Twitter.

Most watched


Find out which reports and videos are getting people clicking online.

Channel 4 © 2010. Channel 4 is not responsible for the content of external websites.