Clarification of Information
We have been asked repeatedly to comment on the report sent out by AFP in response to a tribal mediator involved in Yolande's release and the comments by a pro-government military leader that Pierre is still alive. AFP was kind enough to send us their broadcast and we accept that their reporting is in good faith so we don't have any issue there.
These are the facts:
1. Anas al-Hamati, our negotiator in Yemen, spoke to Fawaz, the AFP reporter in Yemen who is a colleague of Anas, having been a former journalist before working for Gift of the Givers.
2. Fawaz confirmed that Hussein al-Wuhayshi, a pro-Yemeni government militant spoke to him last week and created the impression that he was involved in Yolande's release. He also confirmed that Hussein said he had information that Pierre was still alive in Al-Mahfad region.
3. Hussein is known to Anas. We have his cell number on record. Immediately, after Yolande was released, Hussein called Anas and asked how he achieved this, yet he claims to be a tribal mediator and knew nothing of the negotiation with Al Qaeeda. He further asked Anas how he managed to cross all the security check points bringing Yolande from the desert and not being seen by any of his (Hussein's) men. Anas replied: "it's simple, they were all sleeping". Hussein was very upset that Yolande was taken through the tribal area completely under his jurisdiction and he was totally oblivious of this. Is this man a mediator and can he provide reliable information on areas not in his control if he does not know what's happening in his own area?
4. Hussein claims that Pierre is being held in the Al-Mahfad region. This is the region to which Yolande was finally brought and released to Anas. The journey from where Pierre and Yolande were held is 16 hours by car from Al-Mahfad. So again we ask how reliable is this information? We are not referring to an unknown entity; we are referring to someone who is known to Anas and with whom he had direct dialogue.
5. If Hussein was a mediator how come the President's office requested a full report on the negotiation for Yolande's release from Anas. That report was submitted to the office of the Head of the President yesterday. A message was sent to Anas that the president's office wants him to continue negotiating for Pierre's release as the Yemeni Government cannot get involved.
We are, therefore, sceptical of any information provided by Hussein as we are of hundreds of others in Yemen who are "mediators", "negotiators" and "hostage specialists". The more money you can provide the more "skilled" they become.