Korkies remains to be repatriated today
The body of South African teacher, Pierre Korkie, is expected to arrive in South Africa today.
Korkie was murdered by terrorists along with United States citizen Luke Somers during a rescue operation by US and Yemeni security forces on Friday.
Korkie and his wife Yolande were kidnapped by al-Qaeda militants in Yemen in May last year.
Yolande was freed in January this year after an intervention by the South African government and the NGO, Gift of the Givers, together with the Yemeni government and other role players, while they kept Pierre for ransom.
The South African government, which had undertaken numerous initiatives to help secure Korkie's release, has also expressed its sadness on the killing. It has sent condolences to both families of the deceased.
“Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane would like to express the South African government's firm and unconditional condemnation of all forms of terrorism that invariably result in the senseless suffering and loss of innocent lives,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane had a telephonic discussion with her Yemeni counterpart about the death of Korkie, where the Yemeni Minister expressed his government’s condolences following the tragedy.
Gift of the Givers founder, Imtiaz Sooliman, says last week they were informed that Pierre will be home for Christmas.
US officials say they had no choice but to launch the special forces operation in Yemen. US Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard said they were not aware that Korkie and Somers were being kept together by al-Qaeda.
“Just as we are joined in the common struggle against violent extremists, the US and South Africa share the pain of losing citizens to the threat posed by them,” Gaspard said on Monday.
“The United States remains determined to do its utmost to hold those who have done our citizens harm accountable. This heart breaking incident is a reminder of the need for all governments to unite against the common threat posed to all of our citizens.”
Last night, Yolande issued an emotional statement where she thanked South Africans for their support during her family's ordeal.
“My heart is breaking not only for my children, family and myself but for all of you that travelled this road with us … The furnace of 19 months has been relentless and red hot. Thus I had to really think very hard and long for an appropriate approach in the face of this pain.”
In the statement, Yolande also said she has chosen to forgive.
“Today we choose to forgive. We choose to love. We choose to rejoice in the memories of Pierre and keep him alive in our hearts. We honour Pierre’s legacy and give glory to God for his life and death. We resolve to live in the embrace of God… until our time comes to be reunited. Even though this pain is overwhelming us right now, we choose to believe that this too will pass.” – SAnews.gov.za