Johannesburg - Kidnapped South African Pierre Korkie has been spotted for a third time in Yemen, the Gift of the Givers Foundation said on Tuesday.

“We have received confirmation from tribal leaders on the ground that Pierre Korkie was spotted for the third time now in the ongoing war between the Yemeni army and al-Qaeda in Yemen,” foundation head Imtiaz Sooliman said in a statement.

“Yesterday (Monday) he was spotted between Marib and Shabwa province.”

This time he was in the company of a British hostage. The state of his health was not known.

Sooliman said Korkie was first seen around the end of April in the company of a Sierra Leone hostage being moved from Abyan province, the Al Qaeda stronghold, to Albaydah province.

Korkie was sighted a second time on May 28 between Albaydah and Marib.

He and his wife Yolande were kidnapped by Al Qaeda militants in Taiz, Yemen, in May last year. At the time he was a teacher in Yemen, while his wife did relief work in hospitals.

Yolande was released on January 10 and returned to South Africa on January 13. The Gift of the Givers helped negotiate her release.

The kidnappers demanded a US3 million (about R32.5m) ransom for Korkie's release.

The Gift of the Givers tried to make contact with al-Qaeda through international media and circulated an interview with their office manager in Yemen, Anas al-Hamati.

Al-Hamati was forced to leave Yemen at the end of January for his own safety after al-Qaeda accused him of stealing the ransom.

Tribal leaders in Yemen then took over the talks with Al Qaeda.

On February 25, tribal leaders learned Korkie was still alive, but in bad health. Since then, no more information was available on his condition.

Sapa