South African Pierre Korkie killed in Yemen

By Drum Digital
06 December 2014

South African Pierre Korkie, who was held hostage by Al-Qaeda militants, has been killed, the Gift of the Givers confirmed on Saturday.

"He was killed in an attempted hostage release in Yemen early this morning [Saturday]," founder Imtiaz Sooliman said.

"We received with sadness the news that Pierre was killed in an attempt by American special forces ... Our heartfelt condolences to his family in this hour of difficulty."

The Gift of the Givers has called an urgent press briefing at the Bramley Logistics Centre in Johannesburg at 1.15pm on Saturday.

Korkie and his wife Yolande were kidnapped by the militants in Taiz, Yemen, in May last year. Yolande was released on January 10 and returned to South Africa on January 13. The Gift of the Givers helped negotiate her release.

At the time of the kidnapping, Korkie was a teacher in Yemen, while his wife did relief work in hospitals.

The kidnappers demanded US3 million (about R32.5m) in exchange for Korkie's safe return.

The foundation had tried to make contact with Al-Qaeda through international media and circulated an interview with their office manager in Yemen, Anas al-Hamati.

Al-Hamati was forced to leave Yemen at the end of January for his own safety after Al-Qaeda accused him of stealing the ransom money.

Tribal leaders in Yemen then took over the talks with Al-Qaeda.

On February 25, tribal leaders found out that Korkie was still alive but in bad health. Since then no more information was available on his condition.

Korkie was, however, spotted three times.

Earlier on Saturday, Agence France-Presse reported that drone strikes killed nine suspected Al-Qaeda militants in southeast Yemen.

An American photojournalist, Luke Somers, held by al-Qaeda militants was killed, according to the Associated Press.

Lucy Somers told the agency she learned of her 33-year-old brother's death from FBI agents.

Source : Sapa

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