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Korkie negotiator to leave Yemen

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

Pierre Korkie was taken hostage in Yemen almost 10 months ago.

JOHANNESBURG - Gift of the Givers says one of its negotiators involved in talks with al-Qaeda to try and secure the release of Bloemfontein teacher Pierre Korkie will be leaving for his own safety.

Korkie 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 Anas al-Hamati stole the cash.

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

The South African government said at the outset that it would not pay any ransom as it goes against its foreign policy.

Gift of the Givers' Imtiaz Sooliman says they will keep up their efforts to bring Korkie home.

"We are going to give it some more time and hopefully when they calm down we can explain to them that they have got it all wrong and we can carry on with dialogue again."

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.

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

Korkie and his wife Yolande were taken hostage in May last year by the group but she has since been released.

At least nine people are being held captive in Yemen.