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Deputy Minister goes to Yemen

Ebrahim Ebrahim is travelling to Yemen to meet with govt. officials over the Pierre Korkie hostage situation.

Pierre Korkie is being held hostage by al-Qaeda militants in the Yemeni city of Taiz. Main picture: AFP. Inset picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim is travelling to Yemen to meet with government officials to discuss a hostage situation involving South African teacher Pierre Korkie.

Korkie is being held by al-Qaeda militants.

He and his wife Yolande were taken hostage last May in the Yemeni city of Taiz.

While Yolande was successfully released last week without any ransom being paid, captors are demanding a R32 million ransom for her husband's release or the 53-year-old will face execution.

South African relief group Gift of the Givers is negotiating with al-Qaeda for Korkie's release.

The organisation is appealing to the terrorist group to free him as he is already an ill man.

Yolande says her husband will require immediate medical attention if he is released.

"Pierre has a hernia in his groin and the renal system is now bulging out on the one side and the other side has fallen to the inside."

Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman has been facilitating negotiations and says it makes sense for the militants to free Pierre as he is of no value to them.

"This is an old man, he is ill and you said you captured the wrong people. Why don't you just let him go?"

They have until Saturday to raise the funds for the ransom and it's still unclear whether al-Qaeda will consider their international plea for a stay of execution.

Yolande Korkie attends a press conference in Johannesburg on 16 January 2014. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

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