Cruising sailor to testify against Somali pirates in the Netherlands

Peter Eldridge - to testify in pirate case
.. .
A South African cruising sailor who was held captive by pirates for thirteen days in October is to fly to the Netherlands to give testimony against Somalis alleged to be involved in his kidnap. Peter Eldridge was forced to drive his yacht north along the east African coastline until the motor seized and he escaped, but his two crew have never been seen again.

Eldridge said he had been contacted by Dutch authorities to give evidence.

'All I have been told is that five men, believed to be connected to the hijacking, were detained and will presumably stand trial,' he told South African news outlets, 'I have to fly out to Holland on Monday to testify.'

It was October 26 when the trio were captured. Several days later Eldridge managed to get a radio call out to nearby warships, and when the yacht beached he refused to get off, jumping into the water to be rescued by a Dutch Navy warship. However his two crew, Bruno Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz were whisked into the nearby jungle.

The Dutch Navy then arrested several Somalis suspected of being involved in the attack, but Kenya authorities refused to accept them, citing lack of evidence. Five of the Somalis were then flown to the Netherlands to stand trial, and the others released.

'I was lucky because I was able to escape but Debbie and Bruno were not. All I want is for them to get back home safely,' said Eldridge.

Ronnie Mamoepa, spokesperson for the South African Government's International Relations Department, was not available for comment.