Body of Pierre Korkie arrives in SA

The body of slain teacher Pierre Korkie has arrived in South Africa, the Gift of the Givers said on Tuesday.

“The body arrived at 7am and is being taken for a post-mortem,” the organisation’s founder Imtiaz Sooliman said. “Yes, Yolande [Korkie’s wife] was there. She left to go there at 4.45am. The body was due to arrive at around 5.30am but it was delayed.” 

The flight landed at the Waterkloof Airforce Base in Pretoria.

Korkie and American photographer Luke Somers were killed during an attempt by US special forces to free them from their Al-Qaeda captors in Yemen in the early hours of Saturday.

Korkie and Yolande were kidnapped by militants in Taiz, Yemen, last May. Yolande was released on January 10 and returned to South Africa on January 13. The Gift of the Givers helped negotiate her release.

Kidnapping
At the time of the kidnapping, Korkie was a teacher in Yemen, while his wife did relief work in hospitals. The kidnappers demanded US3-million (about R32.5-million) in exchange for Korkie’s safe return. 

The foundation had 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 money. 

Tribal leaders in Yemen then took over the talks with Al-Qaeda. On February 25, tribal leaders found out that Korkie was still alive but in bad health. Since then no more information was available on his condition. Korkie was, however, spotted three times. – Sapa

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