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Minister makes direct appeal to al-Qaeda

Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim has made a direct appeal for the release of Pierre Korkie.

Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim (right) makes an appeal for the release of Pierre Korkie on Yemeni national television. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim has made a direct appeal to al-Qaeda in Yemen to release Bloemfontein teacher Pierre Korkie.

Korkie is being held hostage by the terrorist group which has demanded R32 million within two weeks for his safe release or he will be executed.

Korkie and his wife Yolande were captured by al-Qaeda militants in May last year.

Last week, his wife was released and told to come up with the ransom.

Ebrahim travelled to Yemen last week and met with that country's president on Monday.

Department spokesman Nelson Kgwete says the deputy minister made the appeal for Korkie's release on Yemeni television, after meeting with the president.

"The deputy minister said, 'Pierre Korkie is gravely ill and needs medical attention. His life is in danger. I beg those who are holding him to release him without delay'."