For the first time in over two weeks Gift of the Givers, the negotiators in the hostage drama, have a spark of hope.
Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman said yesterday they believe the South African teacher who, is being held hostage in Yemen, is still alive.
“If he has not succumbed to ill health as yet,” he said. Sooliman said progress has been made. “How significant the progress is may only manifest itself in the next 48 hours. We have made some interventions commencing on February 11 but are not in a position to discuss anything now as it could endanger lives and halt our progress.”
Sooliman said it had been a very tough period since all communication with the al-Qaeda kidnappers ended on January 26.
The kidnappers earlier accused the organisation of stealing the R30 million ransom money demamded and terminated all communication.
The Gift of the Givers office manager in Yemen, Anas al-Hamati, had to flee to the United Arab Emirates in fear of his life after he received a bomb threat.
“We are still optimistic and hopeful that a positive outcome is possible, but it all depends if our recent interventions yield something significant in the next 48 hours,” he said. The deadline for the R30 million ransom money to be handed over expired more than 10 days ago.
Pierre’s wife, Yolande, who was also kidnapped but was released in January this year, made a plea for her husband’s life on the eve of the deadline.
The Youtube video of her plea has since been distributed to numerous media outlets in the Middle East.