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Al-Qaeda using scare tactics for Korkie's ransom

Al-Qaeda militants sent Gift of the Givers a picture of a bomb belt and a ransom letter.

Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim making an appeal for the release of Pierre Korkie on Yemeni national TV. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Relief group the Gift of the Givers is waiting for the Deputy Minister of International Relations Ebrahim Ebrahim's message on Yemeni television pleading for mercy and the release of South African hostage Pierre Korkie to filter through to the upper echelons of al-Qaeda.

Korkie and his wife Yolande were abducted in Yemen in May last year.

His wife was released earlier this month to secure Korkie's ransom of R32 million.

Yolande Korkie attends a press conference in Johannesburg after being held captive in Yemen on 16 January 2014. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN

The kidnappers on Wednesday sent the relief group a text message asking for government to pay the ransom and also sent a picture of a bomb belt.

The Gift of the Givers says the picture doesn't raise the alarm and have put it down to a scare tactic aimed at speeding up the delivery of the ransom.

The relief group's Imtiaz Sooliman says the kidnappers never mentioned anything about Korkie's health which he considers good news.

"They never threatened Pierre but they more interested in the ransom and why nobody from South Africa brought the money."

The Korkie family are now trying to raise the ransom before the deadline lapses in early February.

Meanwhile, Ebrahim is expected to give more details about his visit to Yemen later today.