Expatica news

Public fundraising drive for S.African Al-Qaeda kidnap victim

Supporters of a South African teacher held hostage in Yemen have launched a campaign to raise the $3 million (2.2 million euros) ransom his Al-Qaeda kidnappers are demanding, according to a statement Tuesday.

Al-Qaeda members have threatened to kill Pierre Korkie, 56, unless the money is paid within three weeks.

“This situation has prompted local businessmen and friends of the Korkies to commence with a fund-raising campaign for Pierre’s release,” his family said in a statement.

Supporters can contribute through a text message line, website or bank deposits.

Pierre and his wife Yolandie were abducted last May in the city of Taiz in the Arabian Peninsula.

At the time security officials said the couple was seized outside their hotel by gunmen loyal to a local chief, over a land dispute with the authorities.

The couple had lived in Yemen for four years, along with their two teenage children who returned to South Africa when their parents were seized.

Yolandie Korkie, 43, was released on January 10 after almost eight months in captivity and made an emotional plea for her husband’s safe return after she arrived back in South Africa.

“Although she and the children are confident that Pierre will be released, the situation is still very uncertain and stressful for them,” according to the family statement.

The kidnappers have extended a deadline to pay Pierre’s ransom from last Friday by three weeks. South Africa charity Gift of the Givers have facilitated the talks.

Although kidnappings of foreigners in Yemen are frequent, Taiz — one of the country’s biggest cities — has not been the scene of hostage-taking.

Hundreds of people have been abducted in Yemen in the past 15 years, nearly all of whom have been freed unharmed.

Most kidnappings of foreigners are carried out by members of Yemen’s powerful tribes who use them as bargaining chips in disputes with the central government.