NGO helping in Yemen hostage search

2013-06-18 14:46
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Johannesburg - NGO Gift of the Givers (GOTG) is helping to find a South African couple abducted in Yemen, it said on Tuesday.

"Anas al-Hamati, Gift of the Givers Yemen project manager, contacted the Yemeni president's office and the foreign ministry, and has been granted full co-operation by these and all government institutions," GOTG said in a statement.

"[This occurred] given our extensive humanitarian activities in that country since August 2012. The South African ambassador to Saudi Arabia, whose portfolio includes Yemen, has met and been briefed by Anas."

Gunmen kidnapped Pierre and Yolande Korkie from the central Yemeni city of Taiz last month.

South African diplomats went to Yemen to try to secure their release.

No update was given on their progress.

The couple, initially thought to be tourists, were involved in the development of a hotel in Taiz, South African authorities said last month.

Kidnapped by al-Qaeda

GOTG said Anas went to Taiz where he met the province's governor and head of security.

"It appears that Pierre and Yolande were abducted by nine members of al-Qaeda. The information received points to the hostages being held in Ibb province in one of the villages there," the NGO said.

"Anas is on his way there today [Tuesday] to meet the head of security. The Yemeni government has extended all facilities and personnel to us in areas where they are in control."

An influential tribal leader responsible for negotiating the release of two Swiss hostages was accompanying Anas to help find the two South Africans, GOTG said.

They were optimistic progress could be made, given their relationship with the Yemeni government, tribal leaders, and Anas belonging to a "very influential tribe".

"To proceed further once we reach that stage depends on the hostages' family. We urgently, through the media, request them to contact us," GOTG said.

International relations and co-operation department spokesperson Clayson Monyela said: "There is no update. We are where we were. Our ambassador and the team continue to engage with all the relevant stakeholders."

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  gift of the givers  |  yemen  |  johannesburg  |  abductions

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