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Talks to free SA hostage continue

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IOL news jan12 Pierre Korkie

Supplied

Pierre Korkie

Johannesburg - Negotiations with a group of kidnappers holding a South African teacher for ransom in Yemen are ongoing, Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman said on Sunday.

“We have planned our strategy,” he told Sapa.

He said his office manager in Yemen was in constant contact on the phone with the kidnappers holding Pierre Korkie captive. He was also planning on meeting the kidnappers in person on Monday.

Pierre's wife, Yolande, was released this week with the help of the altruistic organisation. She and her husband were captured in the city of Taiz in May last year.

On Friday, the kidnappers asked for US3 million (about R30

million) within eight days for Pierre Korkie's release.

“The first aim is to extend the deadline and the next is to see if we can bring down the amount,” said Sooliman.

He said his office manager had a “good rapport” with the kidnappers.

“We are hoping we can convince them we need more time.”

Sooliman said South Africa's ambassador to Saudi Arabia landed in Yemen on Sunday morning. He would help with transportation and a new passport for Yolande to return to South Africa.

He said Yolande was feeling better and calmer on Sunday. She had cried for a long time on Saturday but was now focused on organising a campaign in South Africa to raise the money to get Pierre freed.

“She's very worried about her husband,” said Sooliman.

The Sunday Independent reported that Yolande told them in a telephonic interview that she could not find words to thank Gift of the Givers for their help.

“Our hearts are overflowing. The people of South Africa must know that the passion and the commitment of the Gift of the Givers is unrivalled,” she told the newspaper. -Sapa


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