Kidnapped SA man in Yemen is alive - NGO

2014-01-18 14:10
Pierre Korkie (Photo supplied)

Pierre Korkie (Photo supplied)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - A South African man kidnapped by al-Qaeda militants in Yemen was alive, disaster relief organisation The Gift of the Givers Foundation said on Saturday.

The militants had threatened to execute him on Friday if they were not given $3m in exchange for his safe return.

"Pierre is alive," foundation head Imtiaz Sooliman said in a statement.

"We have achieved a stay-in-execution for now. We have been granted a three-week extension [to raise the ransom]."

Sooliman said the militants had informed them that Pierre Korkie was not in good health.

After no communication from the kidnappers for almost three days, Gift of the Givers contacted them on Friday night and arranged to meet with them, said Sooliman.

Anas al-Hamati, an organisation representative based in Yemen met with the kidnappers on Saturday at 4am.

"The meeting was cordial and decent. We [the foundation] agreed to pursue further discussions in the days to come," said Sooliman.

Korkie and his wife Yolande were kidnapped in the city of Taiz in Yemen in May last year.

After extensive negotiations, Yolande Korkie was released without a ransom and returned to the country on Monday.

Ransom talks

Speaking at a media briefing in Johannesburg on Thursday, a frail Yolande begged Al-Qaeda to release her husband.

"Al-Qaeda, I ask to address you. Thank you for releasing me and giving me back to our children, treating us with kindness and respect, and bringing my husband medicine... I'm asking you to release my husband," she said.

"We are asking you to show mercy, to please show tolerance."

The couple have been married for 20 years. At the time of the kidnapping, Korkie was a teacher in Yemen, while his wife did relief work in hospitals.

It was believed that al-Qaeda kidnapped the couple thinking they were US citizens. Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of International Relations Ebrahim Ebrahim was scheduled to travel to Yemen on Saturday to discuss Korkie's kidnapping with the Yemeni government and interested parties.

Ebrahim's department said on Friday they would not be involved in the ransom talks.

"Our policy is well-known to the public that government does not negotiate or pay ransom to kidnappers," said department spokesperson Nelson Kgwete.

"We are involved in efforts to free him through diplomatic channels."

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  gift of the givers  |  yolande korkie  |  pierre korkie  |  ebrahim ebrahim  |  yemen  |  abductions publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Boks to floor USA by 38 - bookies
Debate over Lancaster rages on
US Eagles ready to take off
Samoan duo in hot water
Traffic Alerts

Are you burning the candle at both ends? Listen to your body and your emotional reactions. Know when to slow down or stop. It is more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.