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Somali Gangs Vow To Fight Each Other Over British Captives

MOGADISHU, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Somali pirates said on Saturday that a captured British couple had been moved on shore from a container vessel and that there was a dispute between different groups over the two Britons.

Gunmen kidnapped Paul and Rachel Chandler, both in their 50s, last Friday soon after they left the Seychelles archipelago in the Indian Ocean and took them to the Somali coast.

One pirate told Reuters on Friday they had agreed on a $7 million ransom for the Britons, but others said it would only be decided once the couple were in a secure place on land.

The two Britons were moved from their yacht to a large container ship because the pirates feared foreign forces might try and rescue them. The gang that seized the Britons is finding a safe place on land to hold the two sailors.

"We were displeased by the men holding the British people. They were our friends. We helped them when a rescue operation was likely," pirate Hassan told Reuters.

"But they disrespected what we did for them. They took the pair yesterday to land and broke off relations," he said. "We are warning them it will lead to disaster for them. We will spare no efforts to foil them if they insist on separating from us."

I know the British policy is not to pay ransom, but perhaps if they scattered a large number of one pound notes in the general vicinity while broadcasting "Abdullah betrayed you!" and/or "Muhammad sold you out!" over loud speakers, the resulting choas would allow for an easy rescue.