Pierre Korkie Killed in Attempted Hostage Release

In response to queries from the media and public requesting verification on reports emanating from social media that Pierre Korkie has passed on in Yemen, the answer is YES. Those wanting to know if this is a rumour or speculation, it is not.

We received with sadness the news that Pierre was killed in an attempt by American Special Forces, in the early hours of this morning, to free hostages in Yemen. It was not appropriate for us to make the announcement but now respond to the queries through this statement.

Our heartfelt condolences to Yolande and her family in this hour of great difficulty.

Pierre and Yolande were taken hostage in Taiz, Yemen, in May 2013. It's eleven months since Yolande has had no contact with Pierre since being freed by Anas Al Hamati from Gift of the Givers on 10 January 2014. The Korkie children have not heard from their father in 18 months.

The psychological and emotional devastation to Yolande and her family will be compounded by the knowledge that Pierre was to be released by Al Qaeda tomorrow. A team of Abyan leaders met in Aden this morning and were preparing the final security and logistical arrangements, related to hostage release mechanisms, to bring Pierre to safety and freedom. It is even more tragic that the words we used in a conversation with Yolande at 5.59 this morning was "the wait is almost over". Three days ago we told her "Pierre will be home for Christmas". We certainly did not mean it in the manner it has unfolded. All logistical arrangements were in place to safely fly Pierre out of Yemen under diplomatic cover, then to meet with family members in a "safe" country, fly to South Africa, and directly to hospital for total medical evaluation and appropriate intervention.

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