Yolande Korkie’s family says she will not speak to media

2014-01-21 09:06

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The wife of a South African man being held by al-Qaeda in Yemen will not be giving further media interviews.

“Based on medical advice, it was decided that she [Yolande Korkie] will not make herself available to attend any further media briefings or conduct interviews,” the family said in a statement today.

“She requires time to recuperate from her ordeal and spend time with her children.”

Press statements will be released to the media twice a week and when there were new developments in the case.

According to the statement, the latest update at 4pm yesterday was that “Gift of the Givers continues to engage the kidnappers to negotiate the safe release of Pierre Korkie”.

The al-Qaeda militants holding him had threatened to execute him on Friday if they were not given $3 million (R32.5 million) in exchange for his safe return.

After an initial silence, the kidnappers made contact saying that he was still alive on Saturday.

A three-week extension was also given to raise the ransom. The couple was kidnapped in the city of Taiz in Yemen in May.

Yolande Korkie was held for seven months and, after extensive negotiations, released in January without a ransom. She returned to South Africa last week.

At a news conference in Johannesburg last week, a tearful Yolande Korkie begged al-Qaeda to release her husband. The couple have been married for 20 years.

At the time of the kidnapping, Pierre Korkie was a teacher in Yemen, while his wife did relief work in hospitals.

South Africa’s Deputy Minister of International Relations Ebrahim Ebrahim arrived in Yemen on Sunday morning.

Departmental spokesperson Nelson Kgwete said Ebrahim would discuss Pierre Korkie’s kidnapping with the Yemeni government and interested parties.

The department said it would not be involved in the ransom talks.

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