Worst moment of my life - freed SA hostage

2014-01-16 18:55
Yolande Korkie (Picture: AFP)

Yolande Korkie (Picture: AFP)

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

Video

Yolande Korkie begs Al Qaeda to free husband

2014-01-17 08:33

The wife of a man being held by Al Qaeda in Yemen pleaded for his release as the kidnapper's deadline for his ransom approached.WATCH

Johannesburg - Yolande Korkie's release by al-Qaeda, who kidnapped her and husband Pierre in Yemen, was one of the worst moments of her life, she said on Thursday.

"Apart from the day we were kidnapped, to be separated from Pierre in that way was the worst moment of my life," she told reporters in Johannesburg.

She pleaded for her husband's release as the ransom deadline approached.

Korkie, who appeared gaunt and frail, was released last week after the Gift of the Givers Foundation negotiated with her captors.

The couple, who have been married for 20 years, were abducted in the city of Taiz, in Yemen, in May.

Korkie said her husband was in poor health when she was released. He had a hernia and his renal system was damaged.

On Friday, the kidnappers demanded payment of about R32.5m within eight days to secure Pierre Korkie's release.

Yolande said the kidnappers had believed they were American when they abducted them because "their perception of Westerners was based on skin colour".

Negotiations

Speaking in a soft voice because of a throat infection, she said: "My strength came from God."

Negotiations for her husband's release had not been going well, said Imtiaz Sooliman, who heads the Gift of the Givers Foundation.

Sooliman said the captors had been asked for another month, and al-Qaeda's response was being awaited.

Korkie said she believed her husband had found some peace in the fact that she was safe and their children were okay.

"The next 48-hours are going to be crucial," family spokesperson Michael Venter said.

He asked South Africans for their emotional support and prayers.

Reading from a statement earlier, Korkie asked her husband's kidnappers to release him.

"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."

‘A humble and gentle man’

Korkie described her husband as a humble and gentle man. He had been teaching in Yemen, while she had worked in hospitals helping with relief work.

Referring to the fable of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon, Korkie said the Yemeni people were gold.

"No one told us we would fall in love with the people," she said.

She reminded the kidnappers of the forgiveness preached by former president Nelson Mandela.

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

Sooliman said a South African flag was placed behind Korkie at the press conference to emphasise that she and her husband were South Africans.

"There is no merit in harming him," he said.

The Gift of the Givers' Yemen office manager Anas al-Hamati started face-to-face talks with the kidnappers on Monday night.

"While Anas was with them, the al-Qaeda guys called me and asked: 'What's the problem?' I said there's no money, the price is too high, and the time is too short," Sooliman said at the time.

"Anas discussed the same points. They kept on saying if we don't have the money by Friday, it will be the end for Pierre."

Korkie arrived back in South Africa on Monday afternoon.

- SAPA
Read more on:    al qaeda  |  gift of the givers  |  yolande korkie  |  pierre korkie  |  yemen  |  johannesburg  |  abductions
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com 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
85 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Stand up paddler rides over shark!

This stand up paddler had no idea that a great white shark was directly beneath him when he went gliding out to shore.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!
Mountain unicycling – say WHAT?
Top tips to ensure you’re running right

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Pushing too hard and doing too much may have left you feeling drained and overwhelmed. You may need time out to recharge and reset...read more

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

Hello 

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 24.com network.

Settings

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.