Korkie negotiators lose trust in captors

The Bloemfontein teacher was taken hostage in Yemen almost 10 months ago.

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

JOHANNESBURG - The Gift of the Givers on Monday said the trust has been broken between al-Qaeda and those involved in negotiations for the release of Bloemfontein teacher Pierre Korkie.

He was taken hostage in Yemen almost 10 months ago and his captors are still awaiting a R30 million ransom.

The group is apparently under the impression that Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim brought ransom money with him to Yemen last week and that the NGO's negotiator stole the cash.

Government said at the outset that it would not pay any ransom as it goes against its foreign policy.

The Yemeni government has since urged the negotiator to leave the country for his own safety.

Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman says all is not lost.

"The trust is gone, we're back to zero with them. In one way, it's good because now they're phoning every few hours for their money, which means they're still talking to us."

But Imtiaz says the negotiator is struggling to convince the kidnappers he did not steal any money.

"They're screaming and shouting and they're very angry."

At least nine people are being held captive in the country.