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Korkie widow hopes husband’s body will bring closure

Korkie’s teenage son and daughter flanked their mother Yolande during a media briefing yesterday.

Pierre Korkie's widow Yolande breaks down as she addresses the media following her husband's death, Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The widow of Bloemfontein school teacher Pierre Korkie says she hopes the arrival of his body in South Africa will bring closure to her children who never got to say goodbye to their father.

53-year-old Korkie was held captive by al-Qaeda for nearly two years and died near central Yemen during a botched attempt to rescue US hostage Luke Somers.

Korkie's teenage son and daughter flanked their mother Yolande during a media briefing yesterday a few hours after their father's body arrived at the Waterkloof Air Force Base.

Yolande Korkie was released from captivity after eight months.

"I deeply mourn for their loss. Remember they never said goodbye whereas I had the opportunity of spending eight months with Pierre and we hope that this will bring closure to them now.

"They wrote letters and at home we cook his favourite food."

International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane says she won't assign any blame in Korkie's death.

Yolande said she owes her life to her husband because she would never have survived being held hostage by terrorists without his love and support.

"The last memory I have of Pierre was us holding each other and he could not hear at that stage and he said 'I love you and tell the children I love them'."

Yolande said despite retiring before leaving for Yemen, her husband Pierre was moved to help the poor as soon as they arrived there.

"The first time we set foot in that country the immense poverty consumed us."

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

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