Contact lost with Pierre Korkie’s kidnappers

Four days before al-Qaeda's ransom payment deadline, communication has been lost with the kidnappers of South African Pierre Korkie, Gift of the Givers said on Tuesday.

"We have no indication of Pierre's state of health and no proof of life at this stage; and to complicate matters further we've lost all communication with al-Qaeda for eight days now," the aid organisation's Imtiaz Sooliman said in a statement.

"This has been the longest and most worrying period of silence in talks with them."

Sooliman said there was no way to initiate contact with the kidnappers as they continually changed the SIM cards in their phones.

Gift of the Givers' negotiator Anas al-Hamati and his family had to flee Yemen after negotiations soured when the kidnappers accused him of keeping the ransom money for himself. The family left Yemen in late January and went to Dubai.


Korkie's kidnappers refused to accept the South African government was not willing to pay the $3-million (about R32.5-million) ransom.

Korkie, a teacher, and his relief worker wife Yolande were kidnapped by al-Qaeda militants in Taiz, Yemen, in May. Yolande Korkie was released and returned to South Africa on January 13.

Al-Hamati had been facilitating the negotiations. The last face-to-face talks were held on January 18.

Disturbing developments
Sooliman said there had been other disturbing developments.

"In the capital Sana'a, a German citizen was taken hostage over the weekend and in Hadramout province 20 Yemeni soldiers have been killed by al-Qaeda," he said.

"We are not sure if these developments have delayed the communication process or if it is still related to their erroneous perception that ransom money was brought for them by the South African government and not handed over to them by Anas."

Sooliman said they were hoping for a call from the kidnappers so they could clarify the misunderstanding about the ransom and determine if Korkie was still alive.

"Other than that all we can do is pray for now and hope for the best," he said. – Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Sapa
Guest Author

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

The South African connection: How mercenaries aided Trump ally in...

The UN found that Trump ally Erik Prince violated the Libyan arms embargo. Here are the South Africans the report says helped him to do so

Q&A Sessions: African court ‘will be a tough job’ — Dumisa...

Lawyer, author and political activist Dumisa Ntsebeza talks to Nicolene de Wee about his appointment as judge of the African Court on Human and...

More top stories

In a bizarre twist VBS liquidators sue KPMG for R863mn

In filed court documents, the VBS liquidators are blaming auditing firm KPMG’s negligence for the alleged looting of the bank

Snip, snip: Mboweni eyes wage bill, other future spending cuts

Last year, the finance minister noted that increased government spending has failed to promote growth over the past decade

Budget: Mboweni pegs recovery hopes on vaccine efficacy, lower public...

The treasury forecasts 3.3% growth, but warns this will fall to 1.6% if the fledgeling vaccination programme fails to stem successive Covid waves

READ IT IN FULL: Mboweni’s 2021 budget speech

Read the finance minister's address on the budget for 2021
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…