Today marks the death of South African, Pierre Korkie, who was killed in Yemen on December 6, 2014. Pierre, a former teacher at Grey College in Bloemfontein, was about to be released by the militant group al-Qaeda two years ago when he was killed in a failed attempt by American Special Forces to free an American hostage, Luke Somers.
Pierre and his wife Yolandé were taken hostage in May 2013 in the city Taiz. They were on their way to South Africa to attend Pierre’s father’s funeral. The couple and their children, Pieter-Ben and Lize-Marie, relocated to Yemen on December 6, 2009 for Pierre to teach English. The disaster relief organisation, Givers of the Givers (GOTG), played an instrumental role in Yolandé’s release by al-Qaeda in Januarie 2014 without a ransom paid. GOTG’s, Imtiaz Sooliman, says their thoughts and prayers are with Yolandé and her children today.
“We are all human beings. To the residents of Bloemfontein and to all South Africans we are all one humanity. When one of us suffers difficulty or hardships we stand together with each other, that’s what makes us humans. That’s what shows the spirit of Ubuntu in our country, and that what unites us beyond religion, race and colour”.
Meanwhile Sooliman says the organisation is awaiting a new video footage about South African, Stephen McGown and Swede, Johan Gustafsson, who are held captive by al-Qaeda in Mali for the past five years. GOTG is part of the negotiations to free the hostages and made contact with al-Qaeda in November.
Sooliman adds that they are also expecting information on the state of health of the hostages and confirmation that gifts send to them have been received.
Netflix will be releasing a programme on the Korkie hostage drama this Friday, 9 December 2016. – Katleho Morapela & Christal-Lize Muller