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Negotiations continue for abducted SA couple

International Relations says it remains positive but it's a challenging task.

The southern city of Taiz in Yemen. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - The International Relations Department says negotiations to secure the release of a South African couple being held hostage in Yemen are continuing.

Teachers Pierre and Yolanda Korkie from Bloemfontein were kidnapped by gunmen last month outside a hotel in the city of Ta'izz.

It's believed the couple is being held by al-Qaeda militants.

The department's Clayson Monyela said, "Interactions are ongoing and our ambassador accredited to Yemen is in contact with authorities there. There were frequent meetings and discussions, and we're doing our best to see how we can resolve this matter."

He said they remain positive but it's a challenging task.

"It's very difficult to see anything like that and it's safe to say that everything possible is being done."

South Africa's ambassador to Saudi Arabia travelled to Yemen several weeks ago to try to secure the couple's release.

Meanwhile, NGO Gift of the Givers has stepped in to help negotiate the release of the couple.

Gift of the Givers' Imtiaz Sooliman said they have good relations with the Yemeni government due to their ongoing humanitarian work.

"When it was released in the media that a South African couple were taken hostage, the Yemeni government responded to our request immediately."