Chandlers Reunited Temporarily

8 March 2010, 12:19 | Updated: 8 March 2010, 14:07

A couple from Tunbridge Wells kidnapped by Somali pirates have been temporarily reunited.

Paul and Rachel Chandler, from Tunbridge Wells were captured by pirates whilst sailing to Tanzania back in October.

They've been forced to spend their longest time apart as a married couple.

Dr Mohamed Elmi Hangul, who treated the pair last month, said the pirates had told him that the couple had been been temporarily reunited.

He told the Associated Press:

"The two hostages were in different locations but I advised the guys to reunite the couple, because both of them were worrying
about their separation, but they now told me that the two people have reunited already."

The Foreign Office refused to comment on his claims.

Dr Hangul said Mr Chandler had suffered from general pain, a cough and an eye infection, and Mrs Chandler was "very anxious" because she was away from her husband.

He treated the couple for various problems last month.

In their most recent television interview, via telephone with a Somali broadcaster, Mrs Chandler said she was "very tormented and very, very lonely and worried".

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."

On Friday, Somali deputy parliamentary speaker Mohamed Omar Dalha said he hoped the couple would be freed within two weeks.

The Chandlers were captured while sailing from the Seychelles towards Tanzania in October last year.

They are among more than 130 sailors being held captive in Somalia.