5 SA hostages being held abroad

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said they're not providing further details at the request of the families.

Minister of International Relations, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has confirmed five South Africans are currently being held abroad but says revealing details could jeopardise efforts to free them.

The minister has been answering questions about the death of Bloemfontein teacher Pierre Korkie, who was killed during a botched attempt to rescue US hostage Luke Somers at the weekend.

Korkie spent nearly two years in captivity after he was taken from the streets of Yemen with his wife by al-Qaeda militants who were after ransom money.

Yolande was released in January this year and was instructed by her captors to bring R30 million ransom money for her husband's release.

Nkoana-Mashabane says South African officials worked tirelessly to secure the release of the Bloemfontein teacher and other hostages in other parts of the world.

Asked for numbers and locations, she said the department won't provide further details due to a request by the families of the hostages.

"All I can say is we have five South Africans who are being held captive in countries abroad."


Korkie's widow, Yolande Korkie, says she is now preparing to view his body for the first time since it arrived back in South Africa from Yemen, where he was killed during a botched attempt to rescue a US hostage at the weekend.

Yolande Korkie was at the Waterkloof Air Force Base when his body arrived this morning, but says she decided not to look at it, fearing she would not be able to contain her emotions while telling her side of the story.

Yolande says they have chosen to forgive her husband's killers.

"We choose to say we forgive those who caused his death."

Korkie's body was sent for a post-mortem at a government mortuary in Pretoria after arriving at the Waterkloof Air Force Base this morning.

His family were joined by diplomatic officials from South Africa as well as US ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard.

The Bloemfontein teacher's body was handed over from US military custody to the South African government three days after he was killed.

Video: Yolande remembers Korkie.