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Progress on kidnapped Korkie: NGO

Johannesburg - Some progress has been made towards securing the release of a South African man kidnapped in Yemen, the Gift of the Givers foundation said on Monday.

“Our apologies for not being able to present any new information to you presently but suffice to say we have made some progress in the last few days,” said foundation head Imtiaz Sooliman in a statement.

South African Pierre Korkie was kidnapped in Taiz, Yemen, on May 27 last year. Credit: Supplied

“How significant that progress is may only manifest itself in the next 48 hours.”

Al Qaeda militants kidnapped Pierre Korkie and his wife Yolande in Taiz, Yemen, in May last year. She was released and returned to South Africa on January 13.

The Gift of the Givers helped negotiate Yolande Korkie's release.

Sooliman said he could not disclose details of the interventions aimed at freeing Korkie, as this could “endanger lives and halt our progress”.

“We are still optimistic and hopeful that a positive outcome is possible but it all depends if our recent interventions yield something significant in the next 48 hours.”

Communications with Al Qaeda shut down on January 26, Sooliman said.

The foundation's office manager in Yemen Anas al-Hamati, who was involved in talks with the kidnappers to try and free Korkie, and his family left Yemen in late January after negotiations soured.

Korkie's kidnappers demanded US3 million (about R32.5m) ransom for his release by February 8.

News agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported last Saturday that a mediator made contact with Korkie's kidnappers. The unnamed mediator reportedly said Korkie was still alive.

Sapa

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