Ebrahim: SA does not pay ransom

2014-01-23 12:59

The South African government does not pay ransom “under any circumstances”. As a result, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Ebrahim Ebrahim has again appealed to al-Qaeda to release Pierre Korkie.

Korkie has been held in Yemen for the past nine months. His captors have demanded $3 million (R32.5 million) for his release.

His wife, Yolande, who had also been kidnapped, was recently released.

Ebrahim, who has just returned from Yemen, said at a press conference today that a wide range of meetings were held with the Yemeni government to try and secure Korkie’s release.

He said kidnappings were not uncommon in Yemen. Eight other foreigners are being held in areas that are not under the control of the government.

“It was confirmed that South Africans are not one of the specific nationalities that are actively targeted and that this was, in fact, a case of mistaken identity,” Ebrahim said.

Korkie is ill and needs urgent medical attention.

Ebrahim said while the South African government does not pay ransom, this would not interfere with the family’s efforts to raise funds for Korkie’s release.

Asked whether the government believed Korkie was still alive, Ebrahim said there was reason enough to believe this was the case.

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