Rescue team sends negotiator to Yemen

Gift of the Givers prepares to send a rep to Yemen to negotiate SA teacher Pierre Korkie's release.

Pierre Korkie, who is being held hostage by Yemeni militants. His wife Yolande was released on 10 January 2014. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - The Gift of the Givers Foundation is now preparing to send a representative back to Yemen to negotiate the release of a South African teacher who was kidnapped and held hostage along with his wife nine months ago.

Yolande Korkie was released on Friday, after intensive negotiations between the relief group and the men linked to Al-Qaeda.

Her husband Pierre is still being held hostage in that country and his captors are demanding a R30 million ransom.

The South African government's foreign policy forbids it from negotiating ransom money for the release of those kidnapped in other countries.

The Gift of the Givers Foundation's Imtiaz Sooliman says they have been conducting relief operations in that country, which helped them to convince the men to release Yolande Korkie without any money exchanging hands.

"We are well-known to all the clans. Each day more and more people are coming to know us. On that basis they released Yolande with no charge."

Yolande will now be receiving intensive counselling as she anxiously waits for negotiations around her husband's release to resume.

The kidnappers are demanding the R30 million ransom be paid within seven days, which the rescue team says is impossible.