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Korkie negotiator told to leave

Anas al-Hamati has been accused by al-Qaeda of stealing Pierre Korkie's ransom money.

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

JOHANNESBURG - The Yemeni government has recommended that the Gift of the Givers negotiator involved in talks with al-Qaeda for the release of South African Pierre Korkie leave the country.

Korkie and his wife Yolande were kidnapped in May last year.

Yolande was released earlier this month to secure Korkie's ransom of R30 million, threatening to kill him if the money was not paid.

The terrorist group has accused Anas al-Hamati of stealing the ransom money which they say the South African government brought to Yemen when Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim visited the country a week ago.

But the Department of International Relations and Cooperation has made it clear that South Africa will not pay the R30 million because it goes against foreign policy and it will not fund a terrorist organisation.

Gift of the Givers' Imtiaz Sooliman says the picture of the bomb belt which al-Qaeda sent to the organisation last week was intended for Al-Hamati.

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.

At least eight people, in addition to Korkie, are being held captive in the country.