'Pierre Korkie's family devastated'

Gift of the Givers’ Dr Imtiaz Sooliman says the militants had intended on releasing Pierre Korkie today.

Yolande Korkie's Message to Pierre on Anniversary of Abduction. Picture: Gift of the Givers.

JOHANNESBURG - Relief group the Gift of the Givers says the family of South African teacher, Pierre Korkie, is absolutely devastated after he was killed in a botched rescue mission in Yemen.

The American embassy informed a South African negotiator yesterday that it had photographic evidence that Korkie had been killed.

Korkie and American photographer Luke Somers were killed in the early hours of yesterday during a rescue operation carried out by United States Special Forces in Yemen.

Gift of the Givers' Dr Imtiaz Sooliman says the militants had intended on releasing the teacher this morning but US President Barack Obama said Somers' life was in "imminent danger".

"The passport was ready and we had to inform them in advance that they had to fly to Aden and tell us which exit route they were going to use."

Korkie and his wife Yolande were taken hostage by al-Qaeda militants in May 2013 in Ta'iz, Yemen.

She has since been released after the relief group helped negotiate her freedom.


Earlier this year, Yolande appealed to the kidnappers twice to release her husband.

In an emotional video appeal to al-Qaeda Yolande, pleaded with militants to consider her husband's poor health and release him unconditionally.

The militants had threatened to execute Korkie if his family didn't deliver a R30 million ransom.

In the video, Yolande held an Ons Stad newspaper with the headline, "Al-Kaïda stil oor Korkie" (al-Qaeda silent over Korkie), as she greeted her former captors in Arabic.

Video: Yolande pleads for Korkie's release.

She held hands with her two children for the entire two minute clip and both she and her daughter wore head scarfs.

Yolande pleaded with the militants to either free her husband or continue negotiations for his release.

In August Yolande released a second video appealing to his al-Qaeda kidnappers to show mercy and release him.

In the emotional video, Yolande pleaded with her husband's abductors to return him.