Hope fading for Korkie’s family

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IOL pic feb10 pierre korkie file Supplied South African Pierre Korkie was kidnapped in Taiz, Yemen, on May 27 last year.


Johannesburg - It has been almost a year since Pierre Korkie was kidnapped, and his family are still at the mercy of his captors. There are still no signs that he is alive.

Korkie and his wife Yolande were kidnapped in the Yemeni city of Taiz in May last year.

She was released in January by their al-Qaeda kidnappers but Korkie was held as leverage for a $3 million (R31.8m) ransom demand.

The deadline for the ransom expired on February 8.

Korkie’s family and the Gift of the Givers humanitarian organisation – which was mediating his release – have not heard from the captors since a brief March 17 meeting between al-Qaeda and tribal leaders from a region in the south of Yemen, who have helped with negotiations.

“There’s just confusion and uncertainty,” Korkie family spokesman, Michael Venter, said on Wednesday.

He said it was hard to secure a meeting. “It requires someone to travel three days out into the rural areas, set up a meeting with people and you’re still entirely at their mercy as to (whether they) show up,” Venter said.

Gift of the Givers director Imtiaz Sooliman said they were busy with another plan to secure Korkie’s release but said he could not comment on the details.

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