South African Hostage Killed in U.S. Raid
ISTANBUL — For 18 months, a group of civilians in South Africa worked to accomplish what their government had been unable to do: negotiate the release of a South African couple held by Al Qaeda in the lawless desert of southern Yemen.
In January, the civilian negotiators succeeded in securing the release of the woman, Yolande Korkie. And in recent weeks, they received confirmation that the terrorist group had agreed to free her husband, Pierre Korkie, in return for a $200,000 ransom. On Saturday morning, a convoy of cars was set to leave the southern Yemeni city of Aden to pick up the 54-year-old hostage from the remote outpost where he was being held.
At 6 a.m. in Johannesburg, Imtiaz Sooliman, the director of the aid group that had led the long effort, sent a text message to Mrs. Korkie: “The waiting is almost over.”