Al-Qaeda threatens to behead Korkie

Al-Qaeda has demanded a ransom of more than R30 million for Pierre Korkie's release.

Yolande Korkie with Gift of the Givers’ Dr Imtiaz Sooliman during a press conference in Johannesburg on 16 January 2014. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Time is running out for a Bloemfontein man being held hostage by al-Qaeda militants in Yemen, with his wife appealing to them not to execute her husband.

The group has demanded a ransom of more than R30 million for Pierre Korkie's release to be delivered within the next 48 hours and has warned that if this is not done, he will be beheaded.

Pierre Korkie is still being held hostage in Yemen.

Yolande Korkie was released by the militants last week and has since returned to South Africa with the help of South African relief group Gift of the Givers.

This afternoon she made an international appeal for a stay of execution.

Gift of the givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman says the al-Qaeda militants who captured Pierre Korkie have made their intentions clear.

"They said you know we told you we want R30 million otherwise this Friday there will be a big problem for Pierre. Bby Sunday if we don't have the money we'll give you his head in a box."

Yolande returned to South Africa with a throat infection and appeared frail as she made an appeal for her husband's freedom.

"We're asking al-Qaeda to please show mercy, tolerance and forgiveness as we have forgiven you."

The gift of givers says the militants have grown increasingly impatient and the negotiations have reached a crisis point.