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Pirates free kidnapped British couple

MOGADISHU, Somalia, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Somali maritime pirates who held a British couple for 388 days released them Sunday after a ransom was paid, Somali government officials said.

Paul and Rachel Chandler, 60 and 57 respectively, were released in the town of Adado, 220 miles northwest of Mogadishu, local officials told The Daily Telegraph.

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The town mayor told the newspaper the couple ate and had showers at his home and would depart for Nairobi in neighboring Kenya for medical exams before returning to England.

The pirates who seized the couple and their 38-foot yacht, the Lynn Rival, off the Seychelles Islands 800 miles east of the African coast Oct. 23, 2009, initially demanded a $7 million ransom, Somalia's Sunatimes reported.

However, the British government has a strict policy of not paying ransoms, CNN said. The broadcaster said family members mustered $750,000 for the couple's release, while Sunatimes said expatriate Somalis in England had also contributed.

The pirates released a video last year to Britain's Channel 4 TV of an emaciated Paul Chandler begging for help as he was surrounded by men pointing rifles at him.

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