Cape Town - At first they wanted R32 million for SA hostage Pierre Korkie’s safe return. Now his al-Qaeda captors want blood.
After 29 days since the Gift of the Givers lost contact with the terrorist group, the militants want the charity to hand over their Yemeni manager, Anas al-Hamati.
The manager, who was an important part of the negotiations, fled Yemen on January 28 after Korkie’s captors threatened him and his family.
They believe the manager stole the ransom money. In fact no ransom money has been paid.
The charity’s founder, Imtiaz Sooliman, said their latest information came through a sheik from Al-Hamati’s tribe, who is communicating with the tribal leaders in Abyan, an area with a strong al-Qaeda presence.
Their message is clear: “Al-Hamati must be handed over immediately.”
They claim Korkie is still alive but in bad health. They said he is deaf and they can only communicate with him in writing.
Sooliman said: “This is true about communication with him. His wife has confirmed this.”
The tribal leaders added that Korkie was not with them, but with another leader in a remote area.
For Sooliman the information begs the question of whether Korkie is still alive. It has been 17 days since the deadline for his execution.
And with the tribal leaders refusal to continue communicating with al-Hamati’s sheik, Sooliman said: “We’ve reached a dead end.”
In a last attempt, a team from al-Hamati’s tribe went to Abyan on Monday night to meet tribal sheiks to try to connect with al-Qaeda.