Korkie spotted for third time

Korkie was seen yesterday by tribal leaders who are working closely with the Gift of the Givers.

A picture of Pierre Korkie is pinned to a notice board at the Christ Church Mayfair in Johannesburg during an inter-faith prayer service calling for his release, 7 February 2014. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - More than a year after South African teacher Pierre Korkie was kidnapped by al-Qaeda in Yemen, humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers says he has been spotted alive for a third time in as many months.

The Bloemfontein teacher and his wife Yolande were kidnapped in May last year.

Yolande was later released in the hope that she could raise a R30 million ransom but the campaign has been unsuccessful thus far.

Korkie was seen yesterday by tribal leaders who have been working closely with the Gift of the Givers to track his whereabouts.

Gift of the Givers head Imtiaz Sooliman says Korkie's family is relieved to know that he is still alive but officials are in no position to resume hostage negotiations due to political unrest in the country.

"He was spotted from a distance but you can't actually send anyone to go and speak to him because there is too much mistrust with some leaders being on the side of the Yemeni army and some on the side of the al-Qaeda forces."

However, the war is also credited for helping officials trace Korkie as the militants are moving between provinces to avoid violent attacks.

Meanwhile, officials say there is still concern about Korkie's state of health after tribal leaders reported in a previous sighting that he appeared ill.

"We are very grateful that they have seen him and that he is alive. The only thing we don't have is information about his state of health," says Sooliman.