Page last updated at 11:07 GMT, Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Kidnapped Paul and Rachel Chandler to remain apart

Rachel Chandler and Mohamed Helmi Hangul
Rachel Chandler is being held at a separate location from her husband

A Kent couple being held hostage by Somali pirates will not be reunited for the foreseeable future, a spokesman for the pirates has said.

Paul and Rachel Chandler, 60 and 56, were kidnapped four months ago while sailing in the Indian Ocean.

The couple, who are being held apart in captivity, recently spent their 29th wedding anniversary apart.

Ali Gedow, a spokesman for the pirates, said the group would not allow the couple to spend time together.

Anniversary torment

Speaking through an interpreter, he told BBC Radio Kent: "For security purposes and reasons we will not be able to put them together.

"No further comment on that. We cannot do it in terms of security."

The Chandlers, of Tunbridge Wells, were captured while sailing towards Tanzania on 23 October.

Their captors have threatened to kill the couple if their demands for $7m (£4.4m) are not met, but the Foreign Office has said it does not pay ransoms or give substantial concessions to pirates.

In a recent television interview, the couple spoke of their torment at being separated as their anniversary approached.

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