News 15.2.2014 09:00 pm

Korkie: Yemen ranks high in kidnappings

FILE PICTURE: Former hostage in Yemen, Yolande Korkie makes a plea to Al Qaeda to release her husband, Pierre during a press conference held at the logistics center of the Gift of the Givers in Bramley. Pierre has since been killed. Picture: Neil McCartney

FILE PICTURE: Former hostage in Yemen, Yolande Korkie makes a plea to Al Qaeda to release her husband, Pierre during a press conference held at the logistics center of the Gift of the Givers in Bramley. Pierre has since been killed. Picture: Neil McCartney

Yemen, where South African teacher Pierre Korkie is being held hostage, has been ranked 13th on the list of countries with the most kidnappings worldwide.

Situated in the Middle East, the ranking  was done by private company Control Risks Management. 

There have been a number of kidnappings in Yemen in the past few months, with a British teacher kidnapped in Sanaa earlier this week. This is the second kidnapping this month of a British expat in that country.

At the top of the list is Mexico with the most kidnappings in 2013. South Africa is ranked 19th.

Korkie and his wife, Yolande, were kidnapped in May last year. Yolande has been freed and has been trying to raise the ransom money of more than R30 million the Al-Qaeda kidnappers want for her husband’s release.

However, Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman said there has been no word from Pierre’s kidnappers in more than 17 days. The deadline for the  ransom demand expired last Saturday.

A week ago Yolande made a plea to the kidnappers to release her husband but there has been no response.

Sooliman said yesterday they have lost contact with the kidnappers: “To date we’ve had no response from anywhere in the world. Late on Wednesday night we were still circulating video footage internationally and will continue until all avenues are exhausted.

“We are, however, mindful of the military conflict in various parts of Yemen and that could be one of the major determining factors why we have lost all communication, as al-Qaeda forces operate militarily, in most cases, in areas of no cellular coverage,” he added.

AFP reported on Thursday night that Korkie was still alive. The news agency quoted a pro-government militia leader. However, Sooliman has questioned the authenticity of the source, saying that money drove many ‘experts’ and ‘contacts’ in Yemen to make a variety of statements.

Control Risk Management did not want to publish statistics on the survival rate of those kidnapped. “Special measures are required (for protection) … kidnap poses a severe and consistent threat to foreigners,” the 2013 Control Risk Report said.

 

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