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Pelizzari and Calitz to return home

Bruno Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz are due to return to SA this week.

Debbie Calitz and Bruno Pelizzari embrace at the presidential palace in Mogadishu following their rescue from Somali pirates. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The South African couple who were released by Somali pirates last week said on Monday their harrowing ordeal has brought them closer together.

Bruno Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz were released on Wednesday, after being held captive for 20 months.

The couple is expected to return to South Africa this week and have mentioned no immediate plans for the future.

They were abducted while sailing on a yacht off the East African coast in 2010.

"The realistaion is dawning that we are free," Pelizzari told Eyewitness News .

"There's so much that you miss… music and people."

Debbie Calitz said their relationship is stronger.

"You have to become a real person," she said. "It's like going into a different world.

"At times I thought I was dead."

Details of their release or whether a ransom was paid remain unknown, both for their safety and to protect others involved in the operation.

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