Editorials 30.1.2014 09:00 am

Govt right to oppose ransom

It’s unbearably hard for victims and their families, but the South African government is doing the right thing by refusing to pay ransom to kidnappers.

Life must be hell for Pierre Korkie, who is being held by al-Qaeda militants in Yemen.

Seriously ill and in need of medical attention, he has been in captivity since May. Though the release of his wife Yolande on January 13 brought faint hope, some signs have been worrying.

Following a televised appeal by South African Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim, the kidnappers refuse to believe he didn’t bring the R32 million ransom with him.

In response they threatened to kill Anas al-Hamati, office manager for Gift of the Givers in Yemen, accusing him of stealing the money.

In their view, although governments claim not to pay ransom, it is invariably paid. This week the United Nations Security Council demanded that countries do not pay such ransoms. UK Ambassador to the UN, Mark Lyall Grant, said al-Qaeda and its allies have made more than $100 million in this way over the past three-and-a-half years.

This funding of terror must be stopped – without stalling efforts to free Korkie.

 

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