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Hero's welcome for 'hostage helper'

A former minicab driver who claimed to have masterminded the release of Paul and Rachel Chandler has received a hero's welcome as he arrived back in the UK.

Dahir Abdullahi Kadiye, 56, was cheered by around 70 members of the British Somali community as he arrived at Heathrow airport.

He was handed flowers by a number of members of the group - some of whom came to the airport from as far away as Liverpool and Leicester.

The Somali Briton was reported to have negotiated the couple's safe exit from Somali pirates who had held them for more than a year.

Following their release at the weekend, he told Channel 4 News he took on the job of hostage negotiator six months ago after his children said they felt ashamed when they watched the couple's appeals on television.

Mr Kadiye did not stop to comment about how he organised the Chandlers' safe release but said: "I'm very tired." Mr Kadiye, from Leytonstone, east London, is reported to have come to England as a refugee in 1997.

Mohammed Elmi, chairman of community group Somali Diaspora UK, said the crowd gathered to show how proud they were of Mr Kadiye.

"We are delighted to be here to welcome our hero," he said.

"To meet the couple, Paul and Rachel Chandler, and to negotiate is something that is very positive. The Somali community in the UK are very happy the couple are back home, safe and alive."

The Chandlers, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, have spent their second full day of freedom on UK soil. The retired couple endured a 388-day ordeal which began in October 2009 when their yacht was seized by armed Somali pirates as it sailed from the Seychelles towards Tanzania. Mr and Mrs Chandler, aged 60 and 57 respectively, are expected to hold talks with media advisers to discuss interview deals.


From Belfast Telegraph