SA couple in Yemen 'not taken by al-Qaeda'

2013-06-19 09:10
Pierre Korkie (Photo supplied)

Pierre Korkie (Photo supplied)

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Bloemfontein - A humanitarian organisation that is helping in the rescue attempt of a South African couple kidnapped in Yemen says they were not taken by al-Qaeda as previously reported.

It transpired on Tuesday that former school teachers, Pierre and Yolandé Korkie were not taken by members of the terrorist group but by a criminal gang, reported Die Burger.

The couple were kidnapped 23 days ago in the city of Taiz in a street in front of a hotel by nine armed men.

Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, founder and chairperson of Gift of the Givers, said the group project manager in Yemen, Anas al-Hamati, was working with the government and the Yemeni authorities to establish contact with the kidnappers.

Al-Hamati said al-Qaeda was not involved as only foreigners with political ties were taken by militants who then demanded a ransom.

Sooliman said Al-Hamati became involved because he was worried, angry and embarrassed that South Africans had been kidnapped as South Africans were regularly giving assistance to people in Yemen.

Al-Hamati is said to have links to the powerful Al-Hamati clan and is able to move freely in Yemen and therefore able to make to a valuable contribution to the investigation, said Sooliman.

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