After over a year in captivity, British yachters Rachel and Paul Chandler were finally released by their Somali pirate captors yesterday. In a video posted on the BBC site, they appear thin, but in good spirits. In a comment given to the BBC's Andrew Harding, Rachel said one of the worst things about their ordeal was being separated from her husband, an unusual tactic that pirates do not normally employ with captives.
Xan Rice of The Guardian provides a closer look at what may have gone on behind the scenes to secure the couple's release (see it here). It includes the possibility that some of the ransom money may have come from part of British government assistance provided to the Somali government.
Though denied by a spokesman for British prime minister Gordon Brown, one would have to wonder about things based on what happened to the Chandlers after being let free. Instead of being allowed to go free - as every other captive has - the couple were, instead, flown to Mogadishu. There they were driven by African Union forces in an armoured vehicle to meet with Somali government officials for a photo op. Not the usual way these things work out.
It should also be noted that the same spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon did not call the Chandlers' captors pirates. Instead he called them terrorists.
Regardless, it is good to see the ordeal of these hostages finally ended.