WELCOME HOME Debbie Calitz and Bruno Pelizzari! The two South Africans are finally back in SA after being kidnapped by Somali pirates for 20 months. The couple was captured by the pirates at the entrance to the Mozambique / Madagascar Channel as they were on their way to meet their first grandchild in South Africa.
They were allegedly kept in handcuffs during their entire ordeal. Originally their captors were demanding $4-million US for their release. Their family fought tirelessly for their release, without once giving up hope developing a campaign that caught the hearts of South Africans in SA and abroad.
Debbie and Bruno arrived in South Africa yesterday to a joyous welcome. Debbie addressed the crowd, saying “Thank you for not giving up on us. We appreciate it. And we’re home and we’re safe. And we’re happy.” Bruno added it would take him “four lifetimes to repay everyone”.
South African authorities will spend some debriefing time with Debbie and Bruno. Their release was orchestrated by the combined efforts of Italy, Somalia and South Africa.