Was UK Aid Money Used to Free British Hostages in Somalia?

The British government has denied it used part of the 5.8 million pounds (USD9.3 million) aid package for Somalia to secure the release of Paul and Rachel Chandler, who were held captive by Somali pirates for over a year.

A spokesperson for the U.K. Department for International Development has denied the allegation, noting that none of the British aid for Somalia is directed through the Somali government.

“We channel all our aid through U.N. agencies and well established and trusted charities. None of it goes through the Somali government,” the was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying. “No part of the U.K. aid budget has been used to help secure the Chandlers’ release, nor to benefit pirates. The British Government does not pay ransoms to hostage takers.”

A Somali official told Channel 4 News that a deal was reached in March that a portion of U.K. aid to promote “peace and stability” in Somalia would be used to free the Chandlers before Britain’s general election.

Douglas Alexander, the international development secretary at the time, and then-foreign secretary David Miliband have both denied the allegation.

About the author

  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.