Real threat faces South African prisoner

The South African government does not negotiate with terrorists.

The South African government does not negotiate with terrorists.

JOHANNESBURG - A senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies said on Wednesday, the threat to a South African man held hostage by a group of al-Qaeda militants was very real.

The 36-year-old man, who holds dual British-South African, citizenship was taken captive by the group Aqim in Timbuktu, Mali, in November in 2011, along with Dutch and Swedish citizens.

This week Aqim released a statement saying they will release the man if Britain frees a Jordanian preacher arrested in the United Kingdom, after he was convicted in absentia in his home country for being involved in militant plots.

Neither the British nor the South African governments negotiate with terrorists.

"A second option would be a military rescue. This is one of the most dangerous scenario to take because based on history very few have been successful," the ISS's Martin Ewi.