LONDON — A British man taken hostage with his wife by Somali pirates almost three months ago has said he fears the couple could be executed within days.
Paul Chandler, who was kidnapped with his wife Rachel Chandler on October 23 when pirates boarded their yacht in the Indian Ocean, also said the pair were being treated like "captive animals."
"They've lost patience. They set a deadline of three or four days. If they don't hear then they say they will let us die," the 59-year-old told Britain's ITV News.
"I'm afraid that they will just kill us and abandon us in the desert here," he said in the interview given to the broadcaster late Wednesday.
The couple was snatched when their yacht, the Lynn Rival, was sailing from the Seychelles en route to Tanzania. They were moved to mainland Somalia at the end of October, according to one of the pirates.
The husband made a similar statement in a video broadcast by a different British television channel on November 20, in which he said the pirates were "losing patience" and may kill the couple in a week without a ransom payment.
The pirates have demanded seven million dollars (4.7 million euros) but the Foreign Office has ruled out paying it.
In the latest video, Paul Chandler said he had been violently separated from his 55-year-old wife who was now being constantly tormented.
"We tried to stay together and they threw us to the ground and whipped us, and beat Rachel with the rifle butts and I was dragged off and taken to a different location," he said.
"I was allowed to telephone her about 12 days ago. She said she was being tormented all the time and she said she was giving up."
Paul Chandler also told the broadcaster that a British military ship that was in range when the couple were kidnapped could have attempted to rescue them.
A previous report in the Times newspaper said the couple had been moved between safe houses close to Haradheere in Somalia to prevent their capture by other gangs or Islamist insurgents.
ITV News said it had passed the information to the couple's family and Foreign Office before broadcasting the interview.
The Foreign Office said they were monitoring the situation and doing everything possible to secure the couple's release.
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