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Korkie Family Thank Imtiaz Sooliman and Gift of the Givers in Statement

Imtiaz Sooliman and the Gift of the GiversYolande Korkie has released a statement following the death of her husband Pierre Korkie after a failed rescue attempt by the United States military.

Korkie was being held captive by Al Qaeda in Yemen, after being seized along with his wife in May 2013. Yolande Korkie was released in January after four days of intense negotiations by the Gift of the Givers Foundation.

Her husband, however, remained captive until his death this weekend.

In a statement, Yolande Korkie says she and her family have chosen to forgive Korkie’s killers. She also thanks the Gift of the Givers and Imtiaz Sooliman for their “passionate commitment and perseverance”, saying: “No obstacle was too big. You gave me a second chance to be with our children.”

Read the statement:

“WHY?” is the cry in many hearts: in our home, our city Bloemfontein, our country South Africa, our beloved Yemen and to the ends of the earth. I wish I had the answer. My heart is breaking not only for my children, family, and myself. But for all of you that travelled this road with us.

Pierre was a hostage of this situation for 558 days. Although we were separated in the flesh after 228 days when I was released, I remained with him in the spirit until the end. On 6 December 2014, my dearest friend and companion and godly daddy was torn from me and the children. 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.

The New York Times reports that the US forces were unaware that the Gift of the Givers were working to release Korkie at the same time they launched an attempt to rescue his cellmate Luke Somers, an American photojournalist.

“The night before, I spent hours on the phone with Yolande to try to calm her down,” Sooliman told the New York Times. “I told her, ‘I’ll call you the moment Pierre is in our hands. She went to sleep with that good feeling in her heart.”

Mr Sooliman said Gifts of the Givers felt a moral obligation to help the Korkies — fellow South Africans in harm’s way in a country where the charity had deep ties. Although he said that the South African government had helped with diplomatic hurdles — such as issuing Mr Korkie a new passport — its policy of non-engagement meant that the charity was on its own in contacting the terrorist group.

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