Pierre Korkie: Four Days to Deadline
We are in a very difficult period concerning Pierre Korkie. The deadline is four days away; Anas al-Hamati, our negotiator ,had to flee Yemen hurriedly with his family for their own security; we have no indication of Pierre's state of health and no proof of life at this stage; and to complicate matters further we've lost all communication with Al Qaeeda for eight days now. This has been the longest and most worrying period of silence in talks with them. In the first period there was a 72 hour break in communication before the deadline expired. There is no way we can initiate contact with them as they continually change sim cards.
There have been other disturbing developments. In the capital Sana'a a German citizen was taken hostage over the weekend and in Hadramout Province twenty Yemeni soldiers have been killed by Al Qaeeda. We are not sure if these developments have delayed the communication process or it is still related to their erroneous perception that ransom money was brought for them by the South African government and not handed over to them by Anas. If it is the latter, the silence is very ominous indeed given their recent actions. On 17 January they executed an Iranian diplomat who resisted being kidnapped in the streets of Sana'a. On the same day they killed four Yemeni soldiers.On 24 January they executed another Iranian diplomat held in captivity by them for several months. His head was left in Mareb Province.
Our only hope for Pierre now is for us to receive a call from the kidnappers where issues can be clarified regarding the misconception around the ransom they assumed was brought for them, feedback on Pierre's health and proof of life. Other than that all we can do is pray for now and hope for the best.