SA hostage saga continues in Somalia

Negotiations with Somali pirates are incredibly difficult because the ransom amount keeps changing.

Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - The family of a South African couple abducted by Somali pirates over a year and a half ago has finally received fresh proof of life.

Bruno Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz were taken hostage off the Gulf of Aden in October 2010.

Their abductors are demanding millions of rands to have them released.

Pelizzari's sister Vera Hecht said the pirates finally made contact with the family this week.

"We received proof of life. I submitted questions which they answered."

She said negotiations were incredibly difficult because the ransom amount kept changing.

"It's like playing poker - you just don't show your opponent your hand."

She admitted it was difficult to remain positive, though.

"We know that they're there and we know they're alive. We don't have the kind of money that they're asking for."

In March, the family took over negotiations from local aid organisation, Gift of the Givers.

"The price keeps going up and down and it's very frustrating dealing with these people," said Hecht.

The family are even trying to raise money from the public with the "Save Bruno and Debbie" sms campaign.