Deadline passes for South African Al Qaeda hostage in Yemen
A deadline passed Saturday for the family of a South African man held hostage by Al-Qaeda in Yemen to pay a $3 million-ransom for his release.
The 56-year-old teacher was abducted last may with his wife Yolande, who was released in January.
On Friday she pleaded for his captors to show mercy, saying her husband was too ill to survive the hostage ordeal. He is suffering from a hernia.
She earlier issued a video making a similar plea, after fundraising efforts failed.
“Pierre is an innocent and honest person who served the poor people through his teaching,” she said in a video recording, after greeting Al-Qaeda in Arabic, thanking them for treating her with respect during her captivity.
“My two children and I miss him terribly. He was just an ordinary man from South Africa,” she said, flanked by the couple’s teenage son and daughter.
“He is gravely ill and he will not survive captivity.”
This week the charity negotiating his release said the kidnappers had broken off contact, accusing the charity of stealing the ransom money.
The group believed that South Africa’s deputy foreign minister Ebrahim Ebrahim, who had travelled to Yemen to appeal for Korkie’s release, had brought the money, although this was denied by the South African government.
The couple had worked as teachers in Yemen when they were abducted last May in the city of Taiz by members of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.