Public fundraising drive for Korkie

2014-01-21 11:14
Pierre Korkie (Photo supplied)

Pierre Korkie (Photo supplied)

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Johannesburg - Supporters of Pierre Korkie, the teacher who is being held hostage in Yemen, have launched a campaign to raise the $3m (about R32m) ransom his al-Qaeda kidnappers are demanding, according to a statement on Tuesday.

Al-Qaeda members have threatened to kill Korkie, 56, unless the money is paid within three weeks.

"This situation has prompted local businessmen and friends of the Korkies to commence with a fundraising campaign for Pierre's release," his family said.

Supporters can contribute through a text message line, website or bank deposits.

Pierre and his wife Yolandie were abducted last May in the city of Taiz in the Arabian Peninsula.

At the time security officials said the couple was seized outside their hotel by gunmen loyal to a local chief, over a land dispute with the authorities.

Emotional plea for husband’s return

The couple had lived in Yemen for four years, along with their two teenage children who returned to South Africa when their parents were seized.

Yolandie Korkie, 43, was released on 10 January after almost eight months in captivity and made an emotional plea for her husband's safe return after she arrived back in South Africa.

"Although she and the children are confident that Pierre will be released, the situation is still very uncertain and stressful for them," according to the family statement.

The kidnappers have extended a deadline to pay Pierre's ransom from last Friday by three weeks. NGO Gift of the Givers has facilitated the talks.

Although kidnappings of foreigners in Yemen are frequent, Taiz - one of the country's biggest cities - has not been the scene of hostage-taking.

Hundreds of people have been abducted in Yemen in the past 15 years, nearly all of whom have been freed unharmed.

Most kidnappings of foreigners are carried out by members of Yemen's powerful tribes who use them as bargaining chips in disputes with the central government.

Read more on:    gift of the givers  |  pierre korkie  |  yemen
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