Kidnap victim’s public appeal

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IOL news jan12 Pierre Korkie Supplied Pierre Korkie

Cape Town - The South African woman released by kidnappers in the Middle East on Friday is considering an urgent public appeal for cash from her countrymen, to pay for her husband’s release.

This was reported by Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman on Sunday, as he and his team prepared to begin negotiations on Tuesday.

Yolande Korkie was released last week, eight months after she and her husband were captured in the city of Taiz in May.

On Friday, the kidnappers asked for $3 million (about R30m) within eight days for Pierre Korkie’s release.

Sooliman told the Cape Argus on Sunday night: “We have to extend the deadline – it’s unreasonable, it’s too short, we only have six days left.

“That will give us breathing space to negotiate further. The reality is that no one has $3m, not now or in 50 years time.

“We need to explain to them that it’s like asking for $30m, to us. We’re never going to have it.”

Sooliman said he and his Yemeni representative of Gift of the Givers, Anas al-Hamati, had successfully convinced the four kidnappers that the couple were South Africans, and not “Westerners”, during four days of hard bargaining this week.

“But I’m realistic – we’re probably going to have to pay something,” he said.

Yolande was considering launching a public appeal to her fellow South Africans, when she returned – most likely on Tuesday – after her kidnappers had warned that her husband’s fate was now in her hands.

“They are not people of means, and she knows she has to do something,” Sooliman said.

Cape Argus

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