A retired British couple have been released by Somali pirates after being held captive for more than a year.

Paul, 60, and Rachel Chandler, 56, from Kent, were seized from their yacht near the Seychelles in October 2009.

Mrs Chandler said: “I’m enjoying being free”. The couple said they were fine, but will undergo medical checks.

They were taken to Adado, then Mogadishu, and have now arrived in Kenya. The BBC held off reporting the release due to an injunction.

It observed the terms of the order obtained by the Chandlers’ family which was intended to stop news organisations covering their release until they were safely out of Somalia.

Rachel Chandler and her husband said they were fine after their ordeal

Mr Chandler told the BBC: “We’re fine, we’re rather skinny and bony but we’re fine.”

The couple were told they were to be released two days ago, he said.

“We were told on Friday in a way which gave us some confidence to believe it. Otherwise we’d been told we’d be released in 10 days almost every 10 days for the past nine months. So we’d taken all these suggestions with a pinch of salt.”

Asked if he had felt their lives had been in danger during captivity, he said: “That’s something we’ll talk about later, but we were not really directly endangered by the gang, after the initial seizure.”

He said “ideally” he’d like to get back to sea soon.

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