No word on SA couple kidnapped in Yemen

2013-06-21 14:34
Ebrahim Ebrahim (Picture: GCIS)

Ebrahim Ebrahim (Picture: GCIS)

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Pretoria - Government has not yet ascertained the whereabouts of the South African couple abducted in Yemen, Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said on Friday.

Numerous steps had been taken in a bid to have Pierre and Yolande Korkie freed, he told reporters in Pretoria.

"So far there is no information as to their whereabouts, who kidnapped them, and the reason for the kidnapping.

"We are doing everything possible, we have been in contact with the family to try and locate their whereabouts.

"We are getting full co-operation from the government of Yemen. So far there hasn’t been any information forthcoming from the kidnappers regarding who they are and the reason for the kidnapping," he said.

SA ambassador trying to secure release

Gunmen kidnapped the couple from the central Yemeni city of Taiz last month.

Ebrahim said the South African ambassador, based in Saudi Arabia, had been involved in diplomatic efforts to secure the pair’s release.

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

Ebrahim cautioned the media to avoid "extensive reporting", which he said could jeopardise the duo’s position in Yemen.

"We think that the media should be cautious of not covering it too extensively so that it may jeopardise the position there. Show some restraint, we are doing everything possible to try to locate the kidnapped South Africans."

He said reports which emerged earlier this month indicating that al-Qaeda militants were holding the pair were unsubstantiated.

Obama visit

"We could not confirm those rumours. There is no evidence at all that these people were kidnapped by al-Qaeda," he said.

Turning to the looming African tour by United States President Barack Obama, Ebrahim said details would be divulged at another press briefing scheduled for Monday, 24 June.

Speculation is rife on whether the US's first black president will see ailing 94-year-old South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, on a trip on which he will be accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama.

Obama’s African tour includes visits to Senegal, Tanzania, and South Africa.

On Friday, Mandela was spending his 14th day at a Pretoria hospital being treated for a recurring lung infection.
- SAPA

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  ebrahim ebrahim  |  yemen
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